NEW YORK China is taking
a harder line on imports of solid waste, with shipments facing
increased scrutiny and supervision from Chinese customs
officials, sources have told AMM.
"They are calling it
Operation Green Fence," a Chinese importer said.
"Beginning (this month), they told us that things would be much
stricter. There are different standards for every port of
entry, but they have made it very clear that if the material is
no good, they will reject it. They are very serious about
The current restrictions date
back to a 2006 report issued by Chinas State
Environmental Protection Administration listing banned items
found in nonferrous scrap, including "radioactive wastes,
explosive arms and ammunitions, such as discarded bombs and
shells, wastes containing polychlorinated biphenyls, and other
wastes listed in the National Catalogue of Hazardous
The restrictions were well known
to U.S. exporters but loosely enforced by Chinese customs
officials, sources said.
"We asked them about updated
restrictions and they said there were no new laws," one
exporter said. "Basically, they are stepping up enforcement of
the old laws. Its definitely going to increase the cost
of getting metal to China."
One Chinese importer told
clients in an e-mail to "please make sure all solid scrap
materials ... strictly meet (Institute of Scrap Recycling
Industries) standards and (China Certification & Inspection
Group Co. Ltd.) regulations," reminding them that they cannot
be mixed with any prohibited items.
"I have been told that if they
open up the loads and they find restricted material, such as
circuit boards, they will send the loads back to the U.S.," a
second exporter told AMM. "It used to be that if you
were shipping to northern China, restricted material was an
issue, but if you went through other ports, namely in southern
China, you could get around the restrictions. As of two weeks
ago, that is no longer the case."
"I have shipped consistently
every week to the same Chinese customer for nine
yearsalternators and starters," a third exporter said
March 13. "We got a comment this morning that the material was
dirty, greased up. It was the same material they have always
gotten. They have been taking it all this time, and now they
are changing how material is being received."
Customs officials also require
exporters to send detailed images of containers and materials
prior to shipment.
"They told us that the pictures
have to be perfectly clear and the date has to match up with
the picture of the load," the second exporter said. "People
used to ship lower-grade material and try to get away with it.
Now they are really putting their foot down on junk. ... They
just dont want it anymore."