ISRI: China targets scrap commodities in latest tariff announcement

New tariffs on recyclables range from 5 percent to 10 percent.

China has announced additional tariffs on certain U.S. imports of recyclables staring Dec. 15.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has issued an alert notifying its members that the Chinese government intends to add tariffs on $75 billion in goods from the U.S. beginning Dec. 15.

ISRI says the move is in “apparent retaliation for the U.S. administration’s announcement of tariffs on Chinese products to begin in September and December.”

These tariffs are in addition to those the Chinese government enacted in 2018.

ISRI says the following scrap commodities will be assessed an additional 5 percent tariff beginning Dec. 15, bringing the total import tariff to 30 percent:

  • Harmonized Tariff Code 4707.10.00, unbleached kraft paper or paperboard or corrugated paper or paperboard (such as those with the ISRI specifications 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; and specialty grades 8-S and 11-S);
  • Harmonized Tariff Code 4707.30.10, paper or paperboard made mainly of mechanical pulp (for example, newspapers, journals and similar printed matter), newspaper and other (such as ISRI specification grades 9, 10, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 44, 56, 58 and specialty grades 25-S, 32-S, 33-S, 36-S);
  • Harmonized Tariff Code 4707.90.00, other, including unsorted waste and scrap falling under the ISRI specifications of 52, 54 and specialty grades 1-S through 7-S, 10-S, 12-S, 14-S through 20-S, 22-S, 31-S, 34-S;
  • Harmonized Tariff Code 7404.00.00, copper waste and scrap;
  • Harmonized Tariff Code 7602.00.00, aluminum waste and scrap; and
  • Harmonized Tariff Code 7001.00.00, cullet and other waste and scrap of glass.

ISRI adds, “It is our understanding that unsorted mixed paper is banned for import into China, but in instances where materials under this Harmonized Tariff Code are still obtaining clearance, the tariff would apply.”

ISRI says unwrought cadmium waste and scrap under Harmonized Tariff Code 8107.30.00 will be assessed an additional 10 percent tariff as of Dec. 15, bringing the total import tariff to 35 percent.

Officials from China and the U.S. met in Shanghai in July for trade negotiations, but discussions concluded earlier than expected with no signs of progress.

According to various press reports, however, Trump, speaking on the sidelines of the G7 summit of world leaders in France, said Chinese officials had contacted their U.S. trade counterparts and offered to return to the negotiating table.

Reuters reports that Trump said, “China called last night our top trade people and said ‘Let’s get back to the table,’ so we’ll be getting back to the table, and I think they want to do something.”

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