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ISRI Raises Alarm over Tariff Policies with Administration

(Washington, DC) – As tensions escalate amid an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China that is having a damaging effect on the recycling industry, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) this week requested the U.S. government make every effort to negotiate a path forward with China. Serving as the Voice of the Recycling IndustryTM, ISRI sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer detailing the impact the current tariff policy is having on the industry in combination with the import restrictions already imposed by China. This is part of ISRI’s ongoing efforts to promote free and fair trade of scrap commodities across the globe.

ISRI is encouraged by the more recent announcement that the two sides will meet at the end of this month, and it is the hope that the contents of this letter are an integral part of those discussions.

Excerpts of the letter signed by ISRI President Robin Wiener follow (full text of letter):

I am writing to express the concern of the U.S. scrap recycling industry with the Administration’s approach as it manages the U.S.-China trade relationship, particularly with regard to the use of tariffs on imports from China. … The Chinese Government’s perception that it must respond in kind has further deepened the struggles our industry is already facing because of import restrictions on scrap and recyclable materials that China put in place at the beginning of 2018.

While ISRI generally supports the findings of the Administration’s Section 301 review of China’s investment policies, the lists proposed for import tariffs on Chinese goods already have become a significant financial burden to our industry. We were grateful that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative did not include some equipment parts on the final list of products assessed a tariff beginning on July 6, but that list includes HS 8479.90.94.96 for auto shredder wear parts, of which about 85% is sourced from China and thus represents one of the largest financial outlays for the 300+ auto shredders in 44 states. …

In response to the 232 tariffs that the United States has assessed on aluminum and steel, China imposed a 25% import tariff on aluminum scrap that combined with the quality and quantity restrictions China had already imposed on scrap imports has resulted in a 20% drop in U.S. aluminum scrap exports in the first half of 2018 over the same period in 2017. …

The combined strain on the U.S. recycling industry of China’s import restrictions and the tariffs imposed by both the U.S. and Chinese governments will have a damaging effect long-term on our industry’s competitiveness and the health of the manufacturing supply chain. …

We respectfully request that every effort is made to return to the negotiating table with China to find a path forward in our trading relationship. … [T]he absence of cooperation to resolve disagreements is creating much harm to our industry and our manufacturing customers.

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The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ISRI represents more than 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating nearly $117 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs.

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