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Traders await import guidance as China ban nears

China is developing guidance on standards for imported recycled non-ferrous materials when higher quality thresholds are introduced over the coming months and a ban on the import of solid wastes kicks in on 1 January.

This anticipated practical support was highlighted in the latest BIR Mirror newsletter by Ma Hongchang, an industry expert from China with close ties to the world recycling organisation.
He reminded members that, while reduced imports of scrap will be licensed during the remainder of the year, they will taper off to achieve zero scrap imports. ‘From the start of 2021, China will completely ban imports of scrap and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) will no longer accept and approve scrap import applications,’ he writes. 

Imports postponed

Although China has legislated for new national standards covering imports of recycled brass, copper and cast aluminium alloys, there had yet to be an announcement on the customs codes or import procedures for these three raw materials at the time of writing. Hongchang says this effectively means that imports of brass, copper and cast aluminium alloys will be postponed.
The China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CMRA) is promoting the implementation of such standards and has been working on a White Paper covering the ‘Pretreatment of Recycling Copper and Aluminium Raw Materials’ to help domestic and foreign companies understand the requirements.

Hongchang adds: ‘It has been deemed necessary to develop qualification of foreign suppliers and domestic consignees to meet relevant national laws and regulations, to learn from the good experience and practices of domestic and foreign industry organisations, and to support compliance. The formulation of “Administrative Measures for Qualification Recognition” has now been completed and certification will be carried out soon.’

Recovery in India

In the same BIR Mirror, non-ferrous board member Shen Dong of Omnisource said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers had reported a slump in car sales of 23% during the first five months of 2020 to 7.9 million units. However, sales of 2.14 million units in May represented the highest number in almost two years. 
Fellow member Dhawal Shah of Metco India noted that after a zero sales month in April and a marginal recovery in May, passenger vehicle sales in June were at around 50% of last year’s level. ‘The festival season kicks off in September and automotive companies are expecting to recover more of the lost ground,’ he notes. ‘The government will also look to fast-track some of the big infrastructure projects in a bid to boost employment and consumption so there are some green shoots to be seen.’

The USA picture was painted by Rick Dobkin of Shapiro Metals who noted positive news with the US manufacturing index for June showing manufacturing activity expanding for the first time since February.

‘Scrap demand has quickly rebounded as the lack of industrial production and very little peddler traffic have depleted inventories at yards,’ he says. ‘Whereas industrial volumes into yards were down 40-75% in April and May, many are now only 25% below their normal level.’

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