Reports of a trader being kidnapped in China have prompted the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) to warn its members.
American-based ISRI said that it had become increasing concerned by reports of cancelled orders and contract defaults. It also cited attempts by Asian buyers (from China in particular) to extort extraordinary discounts from the contracted prices for shipments of scrap.
However, it referred to the report of the kidnap of a senior executive from a UK-based scrap company on business in the Ningbo area of China as a dangerous escalation of the situation.
While ISRI admitted it could not confirm this report, it said it had taken the precaution to alert members because so many are travelling to China. Traders are going there to try to reason with buyers or attempt to collect payments. Additionally, two conferences were taking place in China which ISRI members were likely to attend: the World Scrap Metal Congress (November 3-5) and the 8th Secondary Metals International Forum (November 7-9).
ISRI director of commodities Bob Garino attended both conferences to highlight the current problems. He is also meeting with American Government officials based there and members of the Chinese industry and Government authorities to discuss what can be done to ease the situation.
ISRI Vice President Communications Bruce Savage commented: This situation [of breaking or cancelling contracts on this scale] is one that I had not heard of before the global economic slowdown and I would say it was a product of the situation at the moment.
The organisation advised anyone travelling to China to leave a regularly updated itinerary and contact details of the places and people they are meeting with a colleague. It also advised visitors to contact their embassy on arrival and make themselves aware of relevant emergency numbers.