CCIC North America, the certification and inspection organisation for waste shipments to China, has said it is closed to new applications from 4 May to 4 June, effectively halting imports.
The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) was informed of the notice, which has also been translated and put on the US Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries’ website.
The notice indicates that Chinese ports had “continuously detected” US shipments that breached the strict contamination levels imposed by its National Sword programme.
The notice said the measures were to “resolutely keep the foreign trash out of the country door of China”.
Certificates issued by CCIC North America before 3 May will be honoured, but every shipment will be subjected to inspection.
The organisation said: “Suspected thermosetting plastic, metal scrap containing powdery substances, special papers that are hard to identify and anything that is suspected to be hazardous will be sent to a laboratory to complete a test analysis.”
The BIR said it was keeping an eye on the situation, which it warned was likely to put the global market “under additional stress”. It added that US prices for OCC had dropped sharply from the highs of 2017 because of the Chinese restrictions.
Ranjit Baxi, BIR president, said: “The fibre export trade to China was greatly weakened during the first quarter, with prices for mixed paper decreasing rapidly to below $75 per tonne delivered to Asia, while demand for the better grades of OCC tended to stabilise during the quarter thanks to strong European demand.
“OCC prices continued to weaken during this quarter, starting at $160+ per tonne before moving down as low as $140+ before ending up at around $150+.
“Steadily increasing demand from other Asian markets such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam resulted in a gradual increase in export volumes to these destinations during the quarter. Exporters are looking to these markets for further demand growth.”