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Joe Pickard: ‘healthy’ to terminate trade barriers

United States – The US International Trade Commission (ITC) would be wise to eliminate the tariff barriers that are hindering the worldwide recycling industry, according to Joe Pickard, chief economist at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). In testimony to the ITC , he also suggested that the classification of ‘environmental goods’ should be extended to all scrap commodities and equipment.

The export of environmental goods such as scrap commodities and recycling equipment is ′not only good for the health of the planet′, but also has positive impacts on the balance of trade, Pickard noted. Just last year, the USA exported 42.8 million tonnes of commodity-grade scrap to 160 countries, earning US$24 billion in the process.

The USA had already ′levelled the playing field′ in terms of the recycled materials it imports, such as recovered paper and fibre, metals and plastic scrap, Pickard observed. The same goes for shredders, balers, shears, magnetic separators and other recycling machinery. ′At the same time, US exporters face significant trade barriers including import tariffs that restrict the free flow of these goods,′ he said.

′Significant discrepancy′

For example, tariff duties were applied to nearly US$ 700 million worth of US ferrous scrap exports and US$ 300 million worth of recovered paper exports last year, Pickard added. Yet there were no general duties imposed by the USA on the import of recovered paper and fibre, ferrous and nonferrous scrap, or plastic scrap. Similarly, there was a ′significant discrepancy′ between the tariff barriers faced by US exporters of recycling equipment and the treatment of equipment imports.

′Eliminating tariffs overseas would clearly provide a significant boost to US exporters of recycled goods and recycling equipment and would have positive implications for the US balance of trade,′ Pickard concluded.

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