China to exclude some scrap metal from waste import ban

18 August 2017

China said on Thursday it will still allow imports of some kinds of steel and non-ferrous scrap as the world's largest commodities consumer outlined the first concrete details of its plan to curb waste imports as part of its war on pollution.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) published a list of banned waste imports that excluded some scrap metals - such as steel, copper, nickel, aluminium, zinc and tin - from the restriction.

The MEP listed steel, copper and aluminium scrap from automobiles, ships and electronic devices under the "limited import" category. It did not clarify what limited means.

Mining waste containing non-ferrous metals, though, will be banned from imports, since China has sufficient domestic resources, the MEP said.

Last month, China - the world's top scrap metals importer - notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it would stop accepting imports of waste, including paper and textiles.

The domestic metals industry had worried the ban would also include steel and copper scrap, crucial raw materials used by mills and fabricators.

Items that will be completely prohibited from imports include tyres, textiles, plastic, glass and old medicines, as disclosed in a filing to the WTO.

The MEP said the import ban will take effect as early as the end of 2017.