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Trade barriers a persistent threat to scrap

Global – The president of the BIR world recycling organisation’s Non-Ferrous Metals Division, Robert Stein of Alter Trading in the USA, has called on governments globally to put an end to trade barriers on scrap. Speaking at the body’€™s World Convention in Miami last week, Stein warned: ‘The inherent value of the materials we trade is far too important to the world’s infrastructure.’

Stein believes the recycling industry is ‘not well understood’ and faces ‘biased’ legislation in many countries that impedes the movement of scrap. In some way, more than 40 nations ‘create false internal markets by reducing their consumer fabricators’ prices of feedstock by banning or impeding exports (of scrap)’. This amounts to ‘nothing less than subsidising prices of finished goods because of fictitious domestic scrap markets’.

Among those countries erecting trade barriers are Ukraine, Russia and South Africa. ‘Why are there export limitations on scrap and not on other products?’ Stein asked. ‘Does South Africa have an export ban on gold, diamonds or other raw materials? Does it ban the export of its final products made from our scrap? Where would the world be without a good bottle of Stolichnaya if Russia banned its export due to domestic demand?’

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