China’s scrap import quotas – deescalating move

China’s scrap import quotas

Image source: Recycling Today

The new batch of China’s scrap import quotas by the Chinese Government indicates limited volumes including approximately 200,000 metric tons of scrap paper but minimal metal.

Itemized import volumes shrinking and prinking

  • The list enshrining China’s scrap import quotas, unveiled on 18 August, contains no ferrous scrap (i.e. Iron and steel scrap) and only 2610 metric tons of aluminum scrap. Red metal scrap obtained some more flexibility, with quotas approved for 14,530 metric tons, while recovered fiber was the champion in volume with almost 200,000 tons of inbound scrap paper approved.
  • The Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has itemized the eleventh group of 2020 piece import list amounts given by the Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of the People’s Republic of China.
  • In terms of increased import volumes, the second half of 2020 commenced off, assuring about 200,000 metric tons of aluminum scrap and some 175,000 metric tons of coppers scrap were authorized in the MEE’s ninth batch of quotas, promulgated in early July, along with more than 1.1 million metric tons of scrap paper and board.
  • Albeit, the 10th batch released in late July displayed a retreat of only 1,110 metric tons of aluminum scrap, approximately 10,000 metric tons of copper scrap, less than 4,000 metric tons of ferrous scrap and 56,650 metric tons of paper scrap approved into China.
  • Having copper as the highest volume ingredient in the 11th batch may be a move towards China’s requirement for that metal. Figures show the lack of imported red metal pieces has prompted a gigantic substitution of imported copper cathode and red metal molds.
  • The quota scheme is on the verge of phasing out in 2021, with China’s government either banning several forms of scrap imports or redefining some as “resources,” eliminating them from their present position as a “waste.”
  • Non-ferrous scrap exporters have gotten some data envisaging China’s scrap import quotas on the redesigning cycle in that area, however, methods are slacking the first schedule. Ferrous piece exporters, in the interim, are trying to pick up the redesigning of certain evaluations in that area.
  • SMM (Shanghai Metals Market) states it does not anticipate crossing 300,000 metric tons of total aluminum scrap quotas during the first quarter. SMM claims its data shows that in the first quarter year 2019, China imported 332,000 metric tons of aluminum scrap.
  • Chinese paper and board producers, who have engaged in high-volume mills focused on the potential to turn imported scrap paper into new goods, acknowledged that the nation’s move away from scrap imports is probably to pose obstacles.
  • High-grade copper and aluminum scrap compliant with new provisions would not be listed as waste, but the process for processing such content has not been completely explained, with suppliers and buyers requiring certification.


The Chinese government policies on scrap import quotas have surreptitiously injected uncertainty amongst the market players.

Read this article also: The Reverse Proportionality of Lockdown and Scrap Exports

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