Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has submitted comments to the US Trade Representative (USTR) on China’s lack of transparency in its scrap import restrictions. The comments were submitted for consideration to the USTR for inclusion in the annual China World Trade Organization (WTO) Compliance report.


ISRI said in its comments that it remained concerned about China failing to notify the WTO of rounds of import bans, overly-strict product standards, challenging licensing requirements, and non-transparent quota issuances. ISRI said in its comments that China has been phasing in prohibitions and non-tariff restrictions on imports of scrap materials since 2018 (which the Chinese Government inexpertly lumps in with other non-value waste streams and ambiguously refers to all of it as “solid waste”). 


“It is our general understanding that the Chinese Government intends to ban all “solid waste” by 2021, but there has been no transparency on such a policy, leading to great uncertainty in the marketplace,” ISRI pointed out.


Moreover, the organization indicated that China had still not developed, discussed, or implemented policies to fulfill its intention of banning all solid waste, and had instead, “applied non-tariff barriers to imports of scrap commodities that have impacted trade in scrap commodities with China.” 


The organization further commented, “Recognizing that Chinese manufacturers are still in great need of these materials, the Chinese Government announced in early 2020 the intent to implement a new set of standards on imports of aluminum, brass, and copper “recycled raw materials.” 


“These new standards are distinct from the overly strict standards on “solid waste” and scrap that were implemented in 2018 in that material entering the Chinese market under the new “recycled raw materials” standards would be in a form that is immediately ready for the smelter. This is the first major indication – after many years of advocacy by ISRI and our members – that the Chinese Government understands that scrap is not waste but valuable raw material inputs for manufacturing,” ISRI said. 


Click here to read the full text of ISRI’s comments to the USTR.

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