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Chinese import restrictions are a 'game-changer'

Businesses trading in secondary materials with China are being told the restrictions on imports are a “game-changer” and the industry has to comply and adapt to survive.

The warning comes from Arnaud Brunet (pictured), director general of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), in a new year message to members. He says Beijing’s environmental policies and import restrictions have put the industry under stress.

“The China [moves] have required a lot of energy and leadership from BIR,” he said.

“BIR has been at the forefront of the advocacy battle, interfacing with the World Trade Organization and the Chinese authorities, co-ordinating the efforts and positions of our national trade federation members, visiting our Chinese members and voicing the interests of the global recycling industry, including the Chinese ones.”

Brunet says he is proud of the BIR’s efforts but concedes there has been only “some marginal successes”.

“Let’s face it: what happens in China is a real game-changer. My feeling is that there will be no real way back, that our industry has to comply, adapt and find alternative options in the longer term. In a fast-changing world, agility and adaptability are key to survival.”

In terms of the BIR, Brunet says 2018 will be a year to boost membership.

“Understanding the needs of our members as well as delivering an ever-better service is a constant objective. Therefore in 2018 I will put a particular focus on an ambitious ’members acquisition, members retention’ programme, without ever compromising on the high-quality standards of our organisation.

“Growth is vital, but not on compromising on ethics and quality.”

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