China's Ministry for Environmental Protection lowered the threshold for companies to apply for recovered paper import licences and issued the first batch of licences in December.
According to the new ruling, companies with a minimum paper manufacturing capacity of 50,000 tpy are allowed to apply for licences. In the WTO paper issued this summer, this threshold stood at 300,000 tpy. As a consequence, recovered paper imports into China could reach up to 22 million tons in 2018. Earlier estimates amounted to 18 millions tons.
The first batch of licences, which probably represents 10 to 12% of the total volume for 2018, was issued at the end of December. Nine Dragons has gained licences totalling 1.1 million tons, while Lee & Man Paper's licences allow for the company to import 460,000 t. The total batch of licences has a volume of 2.27 million t; some experts also report of 2.61 million tons.