Adjustments have been made to Operation Green Fence in 2013, but the initiative affected profits.
Scrap metal traders conducting business in China spent much of 2013 coping with the effects of Operation Green Fence, a multi-agency effort by the Chinese government to more closely manage the activities of containerized scrap imports.
Speakers at the 2013 Annual Convention of the CMRA (China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association Recycling Metal Branch) in November noted that the new procedures caused expensive delays for importers and exporters, although in the long run the changes may be beneficial for recyclers who play by the rules.
Operation Green Fence indisputably “affected the customs clearance of importers” stated Wang Jiwei, vice president and secretary general of the CMRA.
The increased scrutiny of imported scrap came at the same time as increased taxes and increased energy costs for nonferrous scrap recyclers and secondary metals producers, noted Wang, making 2013 a difficult year.
Delays caused by Green Fence were frustrating for metals recyclers, according to Wang, because “there are basically no smuggling cases for scrap metal,” and sub-standard shipments of mixed waste do not try to enter the country labeled as scrap metal.
“Copper and aluminum are not smuggled into China, however we were affected [by the port slowdowns] and our customs declaration process has been slowed down,” he stated.
Alexandre Delacoux, director general of the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), acknowledged that Green Fence caused difficulties, but also played up the positive aspects of the initiative.
“I think Green Fence shows that China can apply [these standards] because you can pursue quality,” he commented. “I’m very glad about that.”
The 2013 Annual Convention of the CMRA was Nov. 6-9 at the Chongqing International Convention & Exhibition Center in Chongqing, China.