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Scotland slammed for ignoring recycling sector in trade with China

By Greg Pitcher

Scotlands government has been criticised for suggesting its support for firms trading with China will not be extended to the recycling sector.

The Scottish Executive has doubled the size of its international business development agencys Chinese delegation to capitalise on the Asian nations rapid economic growth.

More than 700,000 tonnes of waste paper and plastic is likely to be exported from the UK to China this year but the Executive said it was not looking to support the trade.

There has been much controversy surrounding exports of recycling materials to China, but plastics recycling body Recoup insisted it was wrong to discriminate against the practice.

Chief executive Andrew Simmons said: China is a legitimate market for recyclables. There is a very strong demand and quality controls on shipments have been tightened up.

I cannot see any reason why there should be a distinction between exporting materials for recycling and other things.

Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell said: Scottish companies need to seize the opportunities opened up by Chinas growing economy and we need to support them.

But a Scottish Executive spokesman added: The First Minister was not thinking of waste exports. That is not an area we are concentrating on.

We are primarily looking to support high-value sectors such as engineering and financial services.

Waste exports to China have been a politically sensitive issue since the scale of the trade was revealed by Environment Agency figures last month.

Liberal Democrat MP Sue Doughty said in a letter to MRW: By sending our waste to other countries, we are exporting our environmental problems to avoid addressing them.

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