UAE temporarily suspends scrap exports

The BIR cites media reports that ferrous scrap and recovered paper exports will be suspended for four months.

May 14, 2020

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), based in Brussels, has alerted its members that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will suspend exports of ferrous scrap and recovered paper beginning May 15 for four months. The association cites recent press reports as the source of the information.   

This measure is designed to strengthen the UAE domestic supply in the face of economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The ferrous grades in question appear to be all the major scrap grades, with the HS codes 720410, 720421, 720429, 720430, 720441, 720449 and 720450, the BIR reports. As for paper, the grades in question are 470710, 470720, 470730 and 470790.

According to U.K.-headquartered Kallanish Commodities, a business media organization that produces news, training and market intelligence for professionals who work in commodities, it has heard that the move is in response to a scrap shortage in UAE arising from the pandemic’s reduction on collection rates. “The three crude steelmakers in UAE are Emirates Steel and Arabian Gulf Industries, both located in Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah-based Shattaf Steel. Mills were reported to have reduced output in April as UAE economic activity slowed due to the COVID-19 lockdown,” the Kallanish article states.

Kallanish reports that the UAE exports around 1 million metric tons of ferrous scrap annually, with the majority going to India and Pakistan.

Fifty-one percent of the UAE's recovered fiber exports in 2018 were shipped to India, according to data available on