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Exporters confused by China’s ‘green fence’

Keywords: Tags  China, scrap metal, exports, Ningbo, Bureau of International Recycling, Robert Stein, Alter Trading, Operation Green Fence Nathan Laliberte


NEW YORK — Increased oversight of scrap metal exported to China is causing confusion for U.S. shippers, industry sources told AMM.

China’s “Operation Green Fence” is a relatively new initiative designed to enforce existing regulations on imports of solid waste ( amm.com, March 13).

Scrap exporters as well as representatives of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) are trying to seek clarity from Chinese government officials to better understand the regulations, which date back to a 2006 report by China’s State Environmental Protection Administration.

“The concern is that China doesn’t uniformly enforce the restrictions,” one exporter said. “It’s become a major issue because, depending on the port of entry, we don’t know whether material will be rejected or accepted.”

The lack of transparency has produced widespread unease among U.S. scrap exporters, sources said.

“The Chinese are creating a sense of panic for shippers,” a second exporter said. “They don’t seem to care what the commercial implications of their actions are.”

A third exporter said that some Chinese consumers are allowing containers to sit at ports of entry in the hope that enforcement of the restrictions will ease in the coming weeks.
 
“The reason buyers are not requesting clearance for material is because they fear it may be rejected by customs,” he said, adding that he believes there are about 4,000 containers awaiting clearance at the port of Ningbo.

Sources also told AMM that certain terminals within individual ports were beginning to take a harder line on shipments of loose material.

“We received an e-mail indicating that the Meishan Terminal at Ningbo will only accept baled material after April 1,” a fourth exporter said. “This is not the case for other terminals within Ningbo. It’s becoming very confusing about exactly what the rules are and why one terminal will accept something that another terminal will not. I don’t get it.”

“BIR is working with its government contacts in China to find out just what’s really going on,” Robert Stein, president of BIR’s nonferrous division and senior vice president of nonferrous marketing at St. Louis-based Alter Trading Corp., told AMM. “With China, there are often many jurisdictions involved and the signals aren’t always crystal clear.”

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