Is China one step closer to a green light for nonferrous scrap?

Is China one step closer to a green light for nonferrous scrap?

Report indicates key review on reclassifying some red metal and aluminum scrap is complete.

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January 8, 2020

The Shanghai Metal Market (SMM) news organization has reported that a Chinese ministry has completed its review process tied to reclassifying some grades of copper, brass and aluminum scrap from “waste” to a raw material or resource.

According to the metals news service, China’s National Nonferrous Metal Standardization Technical Committee has completed a review process of proposed import standards on copper and aluminum scrap. Word of the completed review process reportedly came from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE).

The review process had earlier been announced by the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CMRA) Recycling Metal Branch at its November 2019 convention in Ningbo, China. At that time, the CMRA predicted the new standards permitting this classification would likely be put in place by the second quarter of 2020.

In mid-January, additional trade journals, including Fastmarkets AMM, were reporting that three Chinese agencies had jointly issued a document indicating the new nonferrous scrap nonwaste raw material grades could start being shipped July 1, 2020.

The new standards and accompanying reclassification are considered essential to the nonferrous scrap trading sector, since China’s government has announced its intention to completely ban the import of any materials considered “solid waste” by the end of 2020.

In the meantime, trade and financial press reports have indicated that the week of Jan. 6-10 initial 2020 quotas for red metal, aluminum and stainless steel scrap imports were released by China’s Solid Waste & Chemicals Management Bureau. The initial quotas have reportedly been deemed disappointingly low, even by those companies receiving the largest quota amounts.