China Update

As per ISRI’s Member Alert, The Chinese Government has announced the intent to implement a new standards regime for imports of copper, brass, and aluminum derived from recycling, and the new standards were posted over the weekend. Although the system does not completely reopen the Chinese market to scrap trade, it is a major indication that the Chinese Government finally acknowledges that scrap commodities are valuable products and imports, and should not be managed under the same guidelines for "solid waste." This is a major achievement after two decades of ISRI advocating that Scrap is Not Waste.

Our partners at the China Nonferrous Metals Association Recycling Branch (CMRA) published charts indicating the required metal recovery content and contamination limits, but we are told that more detailed rules to accompany these standards will soon be published by the Standardization Administration of China.  As we await the detailed regulation, we are making available the charts provided by CMRA as well as charts published in Fastmarkets on January 20.

The required metal content and limitations on contamination are not set at one level for all grades, another indication that the Chinese Government acknowledges that a one-sized-fits-all approach is not in line with market conditions. It is our understanding that Zorba will be categorized as "aluminum pieces" under the new standards.

We have not yet heard if the Chinese Government will impose import quotas on materials that meet these new standards. However, we do know that materials originating from the United States will continue to be levied 25 percent import tariffs under the U.S.-China trade war. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that our members take every step to ensure that the materials are processed responsibly and meets the criteria set out by the new rules. We also encourage our members to know your customers to ensure that the material is handled and consumed responsibly upon receipt.

We will provide additional information and guidance once we receive the full regulation.

Earlier in the month, China announced the second batch of import quotas for 2020. As per the BIR’s notification:

"Following the publication of the 1st batch of waste import quotas for 2020* on 24 December 2019, the Solid Waste & Chemicals Management Centre of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China published the 2nd batch of waste import quotas for 2020* yesterday, 8 January 2020. According to the Solid Waste and Chemical Management Centre, this second batch allows 26,566 tonnes of copper scrap, 7,544 tonnes of aluminium scrap and 3,180 tonnes of steel scrap to enter China.”

Original lists in Chinese, please use your web browser to translate into your preferred language. 

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