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Cracks apparent in ‘Green Fence,’ shippers say

Keywords: Tags  Operation Green Fence, zorba, aluminum, aluminum scrap, scrap, China, Hong Kong, Chinese Certification and Inspection Group CCIC

NEW YORK — With China’s “Operation Green Fence” in full effect, domestic exporters of raw material—namely shredded aluminum scrap, commonly known as zorba—are searching for creative ways to cope with stepped-up supervision.

The restrictions date back to 2006, when China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection banned certain items from nonferrous scrap imports (, March 13).

According to market participants, there’s a growing disconnect between northern China, where supervision is strict, and southern China, where oversight is somewhat more relaxed.

Several sources said that Hong Kong has emerged as a favorite shipping destination, largely because material sent there comes under less scrutiny from inspectors representing the Chinese Certification and Inspection Group (CCIC).

“For all the money that the CCIC wants to make, it’s amazing they haven’t been made aware of the Hong Kong loophole. If you’re shipping a load of zorba to Hong Kong, CCIC inspectors won’t even come to your door,” one exporter told AMM.

“The material receives a CCIC stamp when it reaches port in Hong Kong as opposed to here in the U.S. We have been told that they don’t even look in the containers before putting the stamp on,” he added.

“Hong Kong ... is still a different trade zone,” a second exporter said. “Technically, anything being shipped to China and Hong Kong should have to receive a stateside CCIC inspection sticker. That hasn’t happened yet.”

Others said that certain consumers in China seem to have found favor with the CCIC. “We have certain zorba buyers in China who don’t require a CCIC inspection,” a third exporter said. “I have not inquired as to why some sellers seem to have a lofty status within the government and others do not.”

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