China issues some import licenses

A scrap metals processor with operations in Guangdong province in south China has told Recycling Today that a first batch of scrap materials import licenses and quota amounts for 2018 was issued in late 2017, with a second batch following shortly in early January 2018.

According to the two lists, which are available only in the Chinese language as of press time, Chiho Environmental Group (CEG, formerly Chiho-Tiande), which is based in Hong Kong, has received a 2018 scrap materials import license and quota amount, which a CEG corporate officer confirmed to Recycling Today Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.

Previous announcements from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) indicated that scrap motors were targeted for restrictions. However, while the recycler says CEG and one other firm have received permission to import motors in 2018, only a few import licenses have been issued so far to processors of wire and cable scrap.

The first two sets of import quotas consisted largely of metals recyclers in Taizhou and other parts of Zhejiang province, on China’s east coast about 180 miles south of Shanghai. A few locations in Ningbo, closer to Shanghai, also received quotas, including a quota for Ningbo Lianfang Chemical Fiber Co. Ltd. to import PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic scrap other than baled beverage bottles.

None of the quotas issued by the Chinese government and seen by Recycling Today appears to have gone to importers of recovered fiber. Of those quotas Recycling Today has seen, only four are for plastics scrap, while the other 90 or so are for ferrous or nonferrous metal or metal-bearing appliances.

China releases new guidelines for export permits

According to a “Member Alert” dated Dec. 27, 2017, from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) has issued new guidelines for exporters and suppliers applying for permits to ship scrap into China. “Although not too different from current rules, there are some points you need to know,” ISRI states in the alert.

While ISRI says many of the qualifications remain the same, including ISO 9001 or RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard) certifications, applicants also must achieve China’s environmental control standards (i.e., contaminants thresholds) and have radiation detection equipment at their facilities.

China finalized its scrap import standards in early January 2018. For more information, see

ISRI says China will continue to inspect material before and after it is shipped and the China Certification and Inspection Group (CCIC) will no longer be the only approved preshipment inspection firm.

“AQSIQ lays out a process for third-party inspection companies to apply for a license from AQSIQ to conduct preshipment inspections but is clear that no processors may conduct inspections,” ISRI writes. “These companies will also share the liability in the event material that was approved before shipment is rejected on arrival at a Chinese port.”

The association notes that “there is no specified time that a license will be issued, so we assume that the same guidelines should be adhered to [to] apply not more than 180 days but not less than 90 days before a current license will expire.”

The guidelines took effect Feb. 1, 2018.

In the same “Member Alert”, ISRI reminds its members “only companies ‘in the business of processing and utilization’ in China will be eligible for a scrap import permit,” advising them to “be sure you know your customer.”