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China warns of new inspections after scrap ban

Exporters have been told that shipments of secondary materials to China after the end of the year will undergo a new inspection regime to ensure they qualify as raw materials, it has been revealed.

Fastmarkets is reporting that traders have been told by Chinese officials to attend training sessions to understand the new procedures. The website quotes an email from the China Certification and Inspection Group (CCIC) saying ‘Scrap metal exports to China will be banned from 2021. If you still need to export metal to China, you can only export it in the form of recycled metal. However, the inspection process and requirements will be completely different to metal waste before.’


In January, China announced tougher contamination standards for copper, brass and aluminium scrap from 1 July and a ban on scrap imports after 31 December. China’s industries still need secondary materials so, from 2021, non-ferrous metals will have to be highly processed before being allowed through Chinese ports as ‘raw materials’. There have been no such public pronouncements yet over ferrous metals.

Shen Dong from the Omnisource Corporation noted the uncertainty during a recent online forum on non-ferrous metals organised by the worldwide recycling organisation BIR on 4 June.

Growing demand

As reported by Recycling International, the panellist pointed out there had not at that stage been any formal information in English from the Chinese authorities on the change or how it would affect the current inspection regime involving CCIC. But he felt the outlook for scrap exports to other processing countries in the region remained healthy because of growing demand from a Chinese economy recovering from the coronavirus crisis.

Fastmarkets suggested new inspection procedures to guarantee such high purity might mean higher inspection costs.

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