The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has registered concern over proposed Chinese standards (so-called GB) for imported secondary materials in comments to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The US association is concerned that the draft standards, issued by China on 15 November, will lead to extensive disruption in global supply chains because they are not in line with the internationally recognised ISRI specifications and lack detailed guidance for exporters.
In the submission, ISRI president Robin Wiener urges written guidance on the definition of ’other carried waste’, suggests the allowable percentages align with ISRI specifications and seeks more time to allow for suppliers to understand the regulations.
“ISRI understands that at the heart of China’s approach with the proposed GB standards is an effort to identify what is ’garbage’ so that China can rightfully prevent such material from entering the country,” said Wiener.
“We suggest the Chinese government revise its GB standards to very specifically define what is intended to be minimised in terms of the percentages listed, giving particular attention to distinguishing between unusable trash that should have gone to a landfill and recyclable materials.
“Each proposed GB standard also contains a catch-all restriction for ’other carried wastes’ with a set threshold for the allowable percentage by weight. It is this last restriction that has raised concerns within ISRI and the global recycling industry because the percentages proposed are in many cases (but not all) out of line with global norms and established manufacturing tolerances.
“ISRI respectfully suggests that the Chinese government delays its implementation of the proposed GB standards for a time period consistent with WTO guidelines. Extra time is required for recyclers to fully understand China’s changing scrap import regulations and to make the necessary changes to comply with these new rules.”
The new standards, which are to be adopted on 31 December, with an entry into force date of 1 March 2018, would give exporters less than one month to make investments and incorporate processing changes for shipments that must leave in January.