Chinese import restrictions on waste put global recycling industry under pressure
by David Fleschen
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the General Customs Administration and other authorities of the People's Republic of China have recently announced in a joint statement that as of 1 July 2019 import restrictions on solid waste will be extended to secondary raw materials such as ferrous, copper and aluminum scrap. These metal scrap are subject to so-called green listed waste in Germany no special export restrictions, since they can be used instead of primary raw materials resource-saving.
In the opinion of the Federal Association of German Steel Recycling and Disposal Companies e. V. (BDSV), the import restrictions for metal scrap, which have now been passed, are another element off the so-called "National Sword" program, with which China is approaching the target of no more impor ting waste into the country from 2020 onwards. The establishment of a separate disposal infrastructure is to be strengthened.
At present, 15% of German steel scrap exports (total volume approx. 8.5 million tpa) are delivered directly to countries outside the EU-28, with the share of German steel scrap exports to China at 33,000 t in 2017 only approx. 0.4%. is. Nevertheless, the BDSV assumes that there will be dislocations in the international markets, which will also be felt in Germany. For the quantities of steel scrap that China has imported so far worldwide (2017: approx. 2.3 million tonnes), new sales markets need to be tapped. This inevitably generates price pressure. The situation is aggravated by increasing protectionism in other countries as well as indirectly by US tariffs on steel.
Source: BDSV, photo: fotoalia