Six grades of steel scrap, and one of aluminium and copper, will switch from the ‘unrestricted’ category to the ‘restricted’ category of imported solid waste products for use as raw materials. An announcement to this effect was made by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment on 25 December.
The eight grades, with their harmonised system codes, are:
- waste and scrap cast iron (7204 10 0000)
- waste and scrap alloy steel – other (7204 29 0000)
- waste and scrap of tinned iron or steel (7204 30 0000)
- waste and scrap iron and steel from machining (turnings, shavings, chips, millings waste, sawdust, filings, trimmings and stampings) (7204 41 0000)
- waste and scrap iron or steel – other (7204 49 0090)
- remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (7204 50 0000)
- copper waste and scrap – other (7404 00 0090)
- aluminum waste and scrap – other (7602 00 0090)
Prohibition list grows
In April it was reported by the Bureau of International Recycling that China would enact import prohibitions for 32 types of recyclable materials. Half of these grades were affected at the start of the year and an additional 16 types of scrap, including stainless steel, titanium and wood, will be banned from 31 December 2019.
According to Fastmarkets sources, furnace-ready scrap material that does not require dismantling or processing can still be imported with existing restrictions such as quotas in place. Policy documents are said to indicate China is considering a ban on imports of solid waste, including all metal scrap, by the end of 2020.
BMO Capital Markets managing director and commodities analyst Colin Hamilton predicts a ‘massive influx’ of copper scrap to China in the first half of this year. ‘H1 2019 will see a surge in import volumes ahead of the July deadline, at which point volumes will drop markedly,’ he said in a note reported by Fastmarkets.
More pre-inspection agencies
Earlier, in a separate move, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China published a second list of approved pre-shipment inspection agencies for imported solid wastes that can be used a raw materials. An initial list of 21 approved agencies was released in November 2018. The latest list adds organisations in Europe, Spain, Netherlands and Taiwan. A recent requirement for 100% pre-inspection of loads destined for China has stretched resources in the exporting countries and the new lists are seen as a way of addressing these concerns.