Constant changes to Chinas heightened inspection on
imports of raw material, dubbed Operation Green Fence, will
continue to pose challenges in 2014, according to exporters of
first unveiled the program in late February on the heels of a
new regime (
amm.com, March 13). The rules, which were
originally stated in a 2006 report issued by Chinas State
Environmental Protection Administration listing banned items
found in nonferrous scrap, had been loosely enforced prior to
start of the initiative, exporters said.
Most believed the
measures were enacted as part Chinas broad effort to
reduce worsening environmental conditions. And while the
initiative was certainly a step in the right direction for
China, early communication issues between U.S.-based exporters
and Chinese customs officials proved problematic.
U.S. scrap exporters
have expressed concern over Chinas ability to uniformly
enforce the restrictions, citing uncertainty of whether
material would be rejected or accepted, depending on the port
of entry (
amm.com, April 2).
As the year
progressed, China placed additional restrictions on imports of
scrap, including a ban on all inbound deliveries of zurik, or
shredded nonferrous sensor-sorted scrap (
amm.com, June 12). Additionally, China Inspection
& Certification Co. Ltd. began requiring shippers to take a
series of detailed photos of material destined for Chinese
amm.com, Sept. 10).
Early reports said
Operation Green Fence would end in November 2013, but it was
later revealed that the initiative would likely stay in place
for the foreseeable future.
Customs officials also
recently announced a second-tier program, dubbed Earth
GoddessPhase III, which focuses on combating the
smuggling of hazardous waste material imported by China from
Europe and North America (
amm.com, Oct. 16).
Several U.S. exporters
said the problem with these programs stems from Chinas
continued inability to properly communicate details of the new
regulations, rather than with the intended purpose of the
"Shippers still feel
somewhat threatened by both the enforcement and the fact that
there is often minimal notice given of changes in practice,"
one exporter told AMM. "We know what the rules are
now, but changes that occur swiftly are alarming and in the
long term are damaging."