Update: China Customs re-establishes inspection procedure for US recyclers

Update: China Customs re-establishes inspection procedure for US recyclers

CCIC offices in Canada able to inspect U.S. China-bound shipments, but recyclers say there is little capacity for genuine help.

May 22, 2018

The General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) has agreed to let scrap shipments from the United States be inspected by a Canada-based agency through June 4, 2018.

Earlier in May, GAC announced it had shut down all pre-inspection offices in the U.S. through June 4, leaving shippers no alternative to conduct mandatory pre-inspections.

In a notice issued early in the week of May 21, 2018, GACC has announced that U.S. shippers can work with CCIC Canada Inc. to have the mandatory pre-inspections performed.

A Chinese-language notice being circulated by scrap recyclers states, “From now until June 4, 2018, U.S. scrap pre-shipment inspections for export to China shall be temporarily undertaken by CCIC Canada. During this period, CCIC Canada-issued certificates shall be accepted by all Customs entry points and [can then] proceed to clearance.” At ports in China, adds the agency, “Entry point quarantine inspection policies are unchanged.”

At the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) 2018 spring convention, held in Barcelona in late May, processors and traders said the measure has had very little practical effect. One speaker stated CCIC has just 10 inspectors for all of Canada, and the small staff has little to no ability to conduct inspections in the U.S., especially anywhere far removed from the Canadian  border. Speakers and attendees instead focused on the June 4 deadline and whether CCIC offices in the United States will reopen for business.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, as China’s central government has tightened its scrap import procedures, it has largely pointed to environmental factors for its scrutiny of what government agencies routinely call “foreign garbage.”

In 2018, the activities also seem to have coincided with the ebbs and flows in the trading relationship between China and the U.S. The closing of CCIC pre-inspection offices in the U.S. in early May occurred at the same time the two nations were trading tariff threats and while Chinese buyers halted their purchases of U.S. soybeans.

The accommodation of scrap inspections involving CCIC Canada now takes place shortly after the Trump Administration and the Chinese government have signaled they will back away from tariffs and will work together to narrow the U.S. trade deficit with China.