The recovered paper industry has been warned that quality concerns and a burgeoning domestic recycling sector could have an increasing impact on trade with China, although it continues to be the major customer for exporters.
A report to the convention of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) in Paris pointed out that, faced with declining production in the past five years, Chinese mills were focusing on reducing costs and boosting efficiency.
But it also indicated that domestic collection in China was growing due to “increased environmental awareness” in the country.
The report was presented by Ranjit Baxi, chairman and chief executive of the UK-based J&H Sales International, who highlighted two other relevant factors.
He had visited China recently and was told that new regulatory controls on all domestic recycling would be enforced by the end of the year and they would impact on the quality of the fibre collection stream.
Another aspect, Baxi said, was that the Chinese paper recycling association was about to introduce specifications for recovered fibres from which the authorities would be able to define how individual grades met required standards.
Baxi had suggested to the Chinese authorities that the ‘local’ specifications could be tied to international requirements such as EN643 in Europe but was told that could come in a “second phase” with China more concerned to regulate its domestic market first.