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China widens restrictions on ferrous, non-ferrous scrap imports from Jul 1

Singapore — China extended the types of metal scrap it would restrict from being imported to ferrous and non-ferrous material, in what was its latest move to stop being the world's dumping ground for waste material.

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From July 1, imports of eight kinds of solid waste, including ferrous, copper and aluminum scrap, were moved to a list of restricted waste material, as these were earlier in the list of unrestricted waste, its Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a statement dated December 25. This means imports of such waste would be subject to government approvals.

The ministry categorizes solid waste imports into three lists: banned, restricted and unrestricted.

The restrictions follow the ministry's July 2017 announcement that it would take steps to limit the import of foreign waste, including one last April that saw the banning of imports of 16 waste products effective December 31, 2018, such as waste car parts, electrical appliances and ship scrap, as S&P Global Platts had earlier reported.

China's clampdown on waste imports impacted Japanese exporters of mixed metal scrap, which had been sending end-of-life household and office equipment to China for processing. Such scrap subsequently made their way via Japanese exports into the mainstream ferrous scrap supply pool of other countries that buy Japanese scrap, upsetting mills that end up consuming them, including those in South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan.

This led to a ripple effect, which saw Vietnam implementing more stringent inspections on scrap imports, on concerns it would become the next destination for the type of material that China has refused to import, leading to more onerous and time-consuming customs checks.

"We're worried that if China were to continue doing this [restricting scrap imports], then our government might follow the ban as well for imports into Vietnam," a mill source in southern Vietnam told Platts Wednesday.

China imported 1.23 million mt of ferrous scrap from January to November last year, a 41% drop from the previous year.

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The following are the HS Codes of the various ferrous, copper and aluminum scrap that the restrictions will apply to from July 1: 7204100000, 7204290000, 7204300000, 7204410000, 7204490090, 7204500000, 7404000090 and 7602000090.

--Samuel Chin, samuel.chin@spglobal.com

--Staff, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Ikhhlaq Singh Aujla, newsdesk@spglobal.com