China to resume ferrous scrap imports in late 2021

China to resume ferrous scrap imports in late 2021

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Recently, China’s draft plan for new standards for recycling steel materials has been issued with the views of interested parties being solicited, while the officially the plan will be issued by the end of this year, the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute (MPI) has indicated. Based on a similar procedure for copper imports, it is expected that China will resume imports of recycling steel materials imports in late 2021.

According to processing method and chemical composition, there will be categories of heavy, medium, small, block type, shredded and stainless steel recycling scrap materials. Meanwhile, recycling steel materials without processing – scrap ship, vehicles and equipment without processing – cannot be imported.

Moreover, the length limit for imported recycling steel materials has been extended from one meter in the national standard to 1.5 meters. However, most Chinese steelmakers require the length of one meter, which indicates that when doing imports traders will need to negotiate with them on the length issue.

At the same time, the content of inclusions (including plastic, rubber, sawdust, fiber, paper) that have an impact on the environment shall not exceed 0.3 percent, while the content of inclusions (including cement, residuum, refractory, etc.) that do not have an impact on the environment but do have an impact on the quality of recycling steel materials shall not exceed 1.5 percent. Previously, in the national standard issued in 2004 the total weight of “non-metallic inclusions (excluding non-metallic and metallic hazardous wastes)” in each inspection batch of scrap was not allowed to exceed 0.5 percent of the overall weight of the inspection batch. The new standard has narrowed the limit from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent, which will prevent some foreign garbage materials mixed up in the recycling steel materials from entering the country.

Ferrous scrap imports to China fell from around 2 million mt to less than 200,000 mt in 2019, when imports were banned.

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