• Leadership Update

China to Impose Tariffs on All Scrap Imports

In retaliation for the Administration's announcement last week that tariffs would be imposed on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods beginning on August 23, the Chinese government announced retaliatory tariffs on $16 billion worth of American goods, and the list includes ALL scrap commodities. These tariffs will also go into effect on August 23.


Furthermore, aluminum scrap was included on this latest list, creating questions about the final tariff rate on this high demand material because U.S. aluminum scrap is already assessed a 25% import tariff as retaliation for the U.S. 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. ISRI’s representatives in China contacted the appropriate government departments, but there appears to be disagreement within the Chinese government on whether aluminum scrap tariffs will remain at 25% or increase to 50%. Unfortunately, this raises speculation that there could be inconsistencies in tariff valuation at China’s ports, further impacting the trade that has been able to flow in compliance with China’s scrap import requirements.

ISRI is already hearing from contacts in China that the announcement has caused consternation among Chinese consumers of U.S. scrap commodities. Although these tariffs will not be levied on imports from other countries, it is our understanding that other regions may not be able to fulfill all of China's demand. This is in line with other reports that the trade war has had an impact on the Chinese economy across many sectors.

We regret that the trade dispute between the United States and China continues to escalate without any indication that the two governments will be negotiating an agreement on trade. We have no doubt that these tariffs will impair the already diminishing scrap exports from the United States to China. To that end, I have sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer informing them of the distress to the U.S. recycling industry caused by a combination of China’s import policies and the tariff war and appealing for them to return to the negotiating table with the Chinese.

The tariff list can be read here.

Please contact Adina Renee Adler if you have any questions.

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