Two Southeast Asian nations introduce new import policies

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Indonesia and Vietnam have introduced new policies pertaining to imports of scrap materials.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, says that as of April 1, 2018, the Indonesian government began implementing a 100 percent inspection policy for recovered paper imports at the shipment’s point of origin.

“It is our understanding this is a policy impacting the global recovered paper industry,” ISRI says in its May 31 weekly Leadership Update e-newsletter.

The new procedures are outlined in a notice from inspection company Cotecna, ISRI says, which can be read at These measures include differing procedures depending on whether the materials are from one yard or from multiple local or distant yards. Total weight and container details must be provided to the inspection office within four days.

“This situation will create burdens on exporters in terms of time, cost and storage,” ISRI says. “More importantly, along with [the late May] announcement on Vietnam, this measure confirms what ISRI worried could happen—with China’s import restrictions in place and materials diverting to new customers in Southeast Asia, these governments look to be considering imposing burdensome import restrictions and requirements that will challenge the industry’s ability to recover from China’s shrinking market.”

Regarding Vietnam’s import policy, ISRI says it has obtained a copy of a letter, available at, announcing restrictions on paper and plastic scrap shipments from all supplier countries that the Tang Cang-Cai Mep International Terminal of Vung Tau province in Vietnam sent to shipping companies.

ISRI’s message reads, “This notice comports with rumors that Vietnamese customers had no more room for imported materials and that the buildup of containers of recovered paper and plastic scrap diverted from China [was] causing delays at Vietnam’s main import terminal. The restrictions include:

  • Starting June 15, all recovered paper and plastic scrap cargoes must have valid import permits and a letter indicating the date the container will be picked up by the domestic customer. If those documents are not included, then the containers must be diverted.
  • From June 25 through Oct. 15, the port authority is not accepting containers of plastic scrap.
  • From June 25 through Oct. 15, the port authority will clear containers of recovered paper as if they comply with the requirements in the first bullet point.
  • Oct. 15, the port authority will review the situation and issue further guidance as needed.

ISRI says it is confident this move has more to do with port capacity constraints rather than being a permanent regulatory shift. However, the association adds that it “will be vigilant about watching these developments and, as always, provide you updates as they come in.”

ISRI directs members with questions to contact Adina Renee Adler, ISRI senior director of government relations and international affairs, at

China sets rules for third-party preshipment inspection agencies 

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The Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has alerted its members to the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) announcement No. 48 of 2018, which it says provides the Implementation Rules on the Supervision and Administration of Pre-shipping Inspection of Imported Solid Waste Used as Raw Materials, which took effect June 1, 2018. The announcement is pertinent to third-party preshipment inspection agencies.

The BIR writes in its alert that the GAC “will be responsible for the supervision and administration of preshipping inspection agencies in the context of their services of inspection, loading under supervision and stamping with sealing marks and the issuance of the preshipping inspection certificate for exports of waste as raw materials to China.”

The agency states that exporters of scrap to China “may expect news on the first third-party preshipment inspection agencies to have been successful in applying to the GAC and so may provide their services in late July at the earliest.”

The BIR invites preshipment inspection agencies to contact BIR Trade & Environment Director Ross Bartley at for more information.