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ISRI says more chaos is likely to result from China’s enforcement actions

In mid-November, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, issued an alert to its members that China filed its intent with the World Trade Organization to adopt Environmental Protection Control Standards for Imported Solid Wastes as Raw Materials (GB 16487.2-13), which sets the allowable contaminants thresholds for scrap imports.

The initial set of draft standards China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) issued in August 2017 proposed a 0.3 percent limit for “carried wastes” across all secondary commodities. The newly proposed standards, which would apply beginning March 1, 2018, set forth the following thresholds:

The association then issued an alert to its members dated Dec. 11, 2017, updating them about its recent meetings in Beijing with Chinese and U.S. government officials and its industry association counterparts.

The alert, which is signed by ISRI President Robin Wiener and Chair Mark Lewon of Utah Metal Works, Salt Lake City, explains that China is facing “a serious environmental crisis” and the country’s central government has prioritized cleaning up the environment.

The association says the actions are coming from the highest level of the Chinese government and little time and few resources are being given to the country’s government agencies charged with developing and implementing these rules to ensure they “get it right.”

ISRI adds, “During our meetings it was clear that there is little understanding within the Chinese government of the chaos they have created.”

The association says AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) is unprepared to implement the bans on mixed paper and postconsumer plastics Jan. 1, 2018, adding that representatives from the agency “could not answer questions as to the meaning of the terms. Thus,” ISRI concludes, “the likelihood of individual inspectors at the ports understanding what they are inspecting—and what they are looking for—is very low.”

To read additional information from ISRI’s alert, visit http://bit.ly/2C3hT8m.