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Shipments delayed by China 'green fence'

Exporters are halting or delaying shipments of recyclables to China because of confusion over its new enforcement policy for customs rules.

That warning has come from the Bureau of International Recycling, which hopes to raise the whole issue of China’s ‘Operation Green Fence’ policy at its convention in Shanghai next month.

The policy involves tougher enforcement than before of legislation on the materials judged acceptable, dated back to 2000, 2006 and 2010.

A BIR spokesman said: “The Chinese Government decided at the beginning of the year to launch a nationwide operation to reduce environmental pollution and to a strict enforcement of the waste legislation both domestically and at ports of entry in case of overseas shipments.

“This has resulted in more severe controls, including regular opening of the containers, particularly in southern China and in legal actions against some overseas exporters which were not observing legislation on waste shipments.” 

Domestic Chinese reprocessors “worry about the situation as many regular foreign shippers are very concerned with the possible subjective interpretation of the regulation by the customs authorities and they are suspending or delaying business with China,” he added.

UK exporters have also been concerned about the softening markets for recyclates as a result of the enforcement crackdown, MRW recently reported.

“We expect the situation to improve in the coming weeks and this matter will be on the agenda of the BIR Shanghai convention where Chinese authorities have been invited to attend,” said the BIR spokesman.

Meanwhile, the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese Communist party, has reported that two men have been given long jail terms for smuggling forbidden waste as ‘green fence’ crackdown continues.

It said the Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court has sentenced two men to prison terms of 10 and seven years – and to fines equivalent to £158,000 and £84,000 respectively - for smuggling thousands of tons of imported waste to the city of Hefei, near Shanghai.

The two were found to have conspired with an unidentified foreign company to smuggle some 2,000 tons of waste from the Netherlands and North America to Hefei between June and December last year.

Lianyungang customs head Zhang Junxiong was quoted by the People’s Daily saying: “Our strategy is to bring the smugglers to court. As for the illegal waste, we will send it back to where it came from.”



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