China’s scrap import volumes from the EU may have room for further growth.
The European Union consists of 27 nations, but when it comes to international trade it offers one market. That was the message to Chinese scrap importers at the 2013 China National Resources Recycling Association (CRRA) International Recycling Conference & Exhibition in early September from Paul Hsia, general manager of Gold Millennium Net Group, headquartered in Beijing.
Hsia said the EU currently supplies about one-third of China’s imported recovered fiber, nearly one-third of its imported copper scrap and about one-fourth of its plastic scrap imports. Nonetheless, “there is much more potential” for the EU to supply more scrap to China, said Hsia, including aluminum and ferrous scrap.
The iron and steel scrap trade to China “is mostly controlled by Japan and the United States,” said Hsia, with exporters from the Netherlands and the United Kingdome making small inroads. “There is a lot of potential in the EU market” in the sector, he commented.
Gauging where China’s imported aluminum scrap comes from is difficult since a high percentage of it comes through Hong Kong, noted Hsia. However, figures indicate that the volume from the United States is much higher than from the EU, creating another potential opportunity.
“This is the moment to get more international suppliers; you need a pool of suppliers,” Hsia urged attendees. He recommended a free trade zone near the port of Valencia, Spain, as being a particularly good opportunity for Chinese importers to set up operations that can provide diversification and improve quality control.
Also speaking at the CRRA 2013 event, CRRA vice-chairman Long Shaohai provided an overview of end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling efforts in China. Long said there are now around 522 certified vehicle dismantlers in China, and auto shredding plant demonstration centers are being established with the goal of reducing the amount of ELV torch-cutting that is taking place.
In 2012, an estimated 1.65 million vehicles in China were dismantled or scrapped, according to Long, and that number is likely to grow. There are now about 120.8 million private vehicles on the road in China, with just 4.5 million vehicles having been known to have been scrapped in recent years.
By 2020, there could be as many as 250 million vehicles sold in China following its economic resurgence, leading the CRRA to calculate that by 2020 some 6 million vehicles should be scrapped annually. “Over the next 10 years, the ELV recycling sector will be developed rapidly,” Long predicted.
The CRRA 2013 China International Recycling Conference & Exhibition was Sept. 3-5 at the San Li New Century Grand Hotel in Hangzhou, China.