China’s “Green Fence” Continues to Clog Export Markets

China’s “Green Fence” Continues to Clog Export Markets

Dutch paper recycler will cut China off as a destination.

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European recyclers are reporting heightened inspection procedures at Chinese ports that are affecting shipments of secondary commodities. The heightened scrutiny is adding considerable delays to shipment times, one European paper recycler reports.

One industry source speculates that Chinese authorities are fully inspecting all containers shipped from Rotterdam following a January raid by Dutch police of Peute Recycling, one of the Netherlands’ largest paper and plastics recyclers, attempting to find shipments contaminated with non-recyclable waste. The recycler has denied the charges.

Europe-based recyclers are reporting noticeably stricter inspections of secondary materials at many destination ports in China, said to be related to a 10-month long “Green Fence” initiative that kicked off in February to prevent the importation of solid waste-contaminated shipments.

The increased scrutiny has coincided with the occurrence of China’s annual “Two Meetings,” meetings of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultive Conference, and the formal election of China’s new president, Xi Jinping, in early March. One of President Xi’s priorities, onlookers have predicted, will be a renewed focus on environmental issues in China.

Richard Getkate, commercial director at CVB Ecologistics, based in Tilburg, Netherlands, says he has experienced the crackdown on imports first-hand. On a February 2013 visit to China he learned that more than 100 containers containing secondary materials were stuck at the Port of Zhangjiaggang, including some that had been shipped by his company.

Currently, Getkate says, 84 containers of recovered paper sold by CVB Ecologistics to a Chinese paper mill are being held at the Port of Zhangjiaggang, where China’s Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ) has requested a second round of inspections at CVB Ecologistics’ expense, even though the transfer of ownership had already occurred, Getkate says.

“We have fulfilled all our commitments,” Getkate says. “We feel those costs are not our responsibility. Our containers have all been pre-inspected by CCIC (China Certification & Inspection Group) and all loading pictures are available.”

Getkate says he is confident in the quality of the materials sold. “It was packed and baled from our own warehouses.” The company specializes in the trade of recovered paper and cardboard. Furthermore, Getkate, who says he personally met with a CIQ official while he was in China, states that no reports or photographs have been provided indicating why the additional inspections should be necessary.

For now, the company is holding off on more exports, Getkate says. “We as a family-owned company have decided not to export into China for the moment,” he remarks. “The experience I have had gives me the idea that for this moment it’s not a good idea to send more material.”