Collaboration Between U.S. and Chinese Recycled Materials Industries

Apr 17, 2024, 18:05 PM
Content author:
Arnulfo Moreno
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“Relationship and collaboration between the recycled materials industry and China goes back years,” said ReMA President Robin Wiener during her opening remarks at the session. “As economies become more focused on decarbonization and electrification, recyclers are placed at the center of the supply chains. We hope our governments can ease some of the current restrictions.”

Xin Fan, CEO of Shanghai Nonferrous Network Information Technology Co., provided insights into historical pricing trends in the Chinese recycled material markets. Shanghai Nonferrous Network publishes tens of thousands of product prices involving more than 80 kinds of metal industry chains every dayand has become the price benchmark for domestic and international spot transactions of metals and compounds.

Randy Goodman, senior trader at Sigma Recycling Inc. and Gemini Corp, has had experience in non-ferrous metal trade with China since 2002. He has worked with ISRI (now ReMA), focusing on trade issues and global specifications. Goodman has served as chair to ISRI’s Trade Committee, Nonferrous Division and the Specifications Working Group while also serving on the Board of Directors for 10 years.

Li Shilong, senior engineer and current chairman of the China Recycling Industry Alliance (CRIA) highlighted the development and progress of the recycled materials industry in China. He stated that there has been an increase in the industry of 6.2% which includes 17.6 million tons of metals, 10 million tons of aluminum, 3.8 million tons of copper and 1.3 million tons of Zinc. Shilong also noted that the machinery level within the recycled materials industry is also improving, allowing for more processing of materials and a higher quality output.

The panel was asked how they saw the relationship between US and China recycled materials industries developing moving forward. The overall sentiment was a positive one. Shilong believes that the relationship will develop positively in the following years. Friedman also believes it will get better, but it depends on the flow of materials and the adherence to standards.

China has been a leader in copper consumption. Will this trend continue? What can be expected within the copper consumption market in coming years? Friedman believes that demand will continue to grow as actual demand is greater than what is being reported. Fan sees that generally demand for copper will keep growing. The demand side is quite optimistic. China is developing at a mild pace, but Southeast Asia and India are also increasing demand as well as increasing demand for electric vehicles (EVs). Shilong sees demand in China as very strong and current price is historically very high and near equilibrium.

Where is the recycled steel market headed? Is Chinese government going to relax laws on importuning recycled steel? Fan explained that the whole steel sector in China is not wholly market driven. If miners are keeping mines at reasonable levels, then laws can be relaxed.

“Relationship and collaboration between the recycled materials industry and China goes back years,” said ReMA...

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