ferrous shredded scrap
Specific grades of ferrous scrap have been identified by the Chinese government for import approval in 2021.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

BIR issues China ferrous scrap import changes memo

Association distributes English-language version of memo from five Beijing-based government agencies.

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January 5, 2021

The Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has distributed to its members a memo from five People’s Republic of China government agencies concerning regulatory changes affecting imported ferrous scrap.

The memo, titled “Announcement on Regulating the Import Management of Recycling Iron and Steel Raw Materials No. 78 of 2020,” is from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment and four other agencies with scrap import oversight: the Development and Reform Commission, the General Administration of Customs, the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The Dec. 30, 2020, memo informs regulators, port officials and the metals industry that “recycling iron and steel raw materials that meet the standards of recycling iron and steel raw materials (GB/T39733-2020) are not solid waste and can be imported freely.”

The agencies add, “Imports are prohibited if they do not meet the requirements of the national standards for recycling iron and steel raw materials (GB/T39733-2020)” and state the new policy goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

For scrap traders and processors who also have ties to the nonferrous sector, the new system appears comparable to one that came into effect Nov. 1, 2020, for grades of aluminum and copper scrap that also were redefined by the government as a resource.