More stringent inspections of recovered paper imports into China causing a stir on European markets

09 May 2017 − 

Rumours of potential ban on importing mixed paper

The Chinese Government recently launched a new initiative called National Sword 2017. Major exporters and the UK’s Recycling Association confirmed that the General Administration of Customs (GAC) had announced stricter inspections of imports of a variety of waste items, including recovered paper, but also plastics, industrial waste, electronics and other household waste materials. More stringent inspections began in March. Reports about how long the initiative would last ranged from six months to one year – at a minimum.

This initiative primarily aims to prevent imports of illegal or excessively contaminated material. The Recycling Association reported that Chinese customs officials were drawing attention not least to risks to health caused by processing recovered paper that was too moist. Affected market players said that the initiative was also an anti-corruption measure. Some 90 people had been arrested in China for smuggling "foreign waste” as part of the campaign, one major exporter stated.

Recent years have shown that China is paying more and more attention to ensuring that imports of recovered paper and other secondary raw materials comply with quality criteria. Customs officials introduced strict inspections at Chinese ports with Operation Green Fence in 2013, which raised awareness of this issue among recovered paper merchants involved in exporting to the Far East. A new similar campaign and stringent inspections are now causing a stir on European markets. Rumours of a potential ban on importing certain materials, which might include mixed paper (1.02), into China are causing affected companies to be alarmed and exercise caution. This is viewed as one reason why exports to the Far East experienced a significant lull in April, which hit merchants in the UK especially strongly.

Find the entire article and any associated background information in EUWID Pulp and Paper no. 19.

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