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ISRI Trip to China Yields Few Answers but Big Vision

Senior Director of International Affairs Adina Renee Adler and I visited China last week to try to gain clarity on the existing regulations and the recently announced 2018-2019 trade restrictions.
RobinChina_250Unfortunately, the Chinese government is currently undergoing a restructuring, and senior officials were unable to meet with us, but through our partners at the China Scrap Plastic Association, the China Nonferrous Metals Association (CMRA) and the Chinese Embassy in Washington, we will be submitting questions about these policies in the hope of getting useful information that we can provide to members.
 

That said, the trip offered a glimpse into the future of China’s recycling industry. We attended ChinaPlas 2018 in Shanghai and the 11th International Metal Recycling Conference in Suzhou, the latter organized by the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) and China Association for Metalscrap Utilization (CAMU).

ChinaPlas was a massive trade show that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each day. On display were rows and rows of machinery for every plastic manufacturing process imaginable. We spent time talking to the recycling equipment manufacturers, many of whom provided real-time demonstrations of plastics materials being processed into pellets and flakes. It is clear that China is positioning itself for self-sufficiency in the near future.

The Metal Recycling Conference attracted over 400 representatives of China’s ferrous scrap and steel mill industries. They are sensitive to the government’s push for environmental protection with a trend towards building more EAFs to increase scrap inputs into the steel-making process. Some speakers believe China to have enough ferrous scrap for domestic use, but there is no indication that imports will abate any time soon (as, indeed, neither will steel-making slow in China). CAMU was recognized by the government for taking the lead on developing a set of standards for ferrous scrap quality, a process ISRI will support to ensure alignment with ISRI Specifications.  I spoke on the state of the U.S. recycling industry and the effects China’s policies are having on U.S. and global scrap trade.  I also raised many of the questions about the policies on which we are seeking, as I noted above.  If you are interested, my presentation and remarks are available.

Please contact Adina Renee Adler if you have any questions.

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