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China to ban import of Category 7 scrap from end of 2018

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SHANGHAI (Scrap Register): China to ban on imports of lower-grade Category 7 scrap, such as motors and insulated copper wire that has to be dismantled and cleaned before being used as a metallic input, was announced in July last year and will be effective from the end of this year.

China’s self-declared war on “foreign garbage” is likely to have implications for the copper market, with China the destination for almost half the world’s copper scrap exports, according to the International Copper Study Group.

Last year China imported 3.56 million tonnes in gross weight.

Analysts are broadly in agreement that this will affect something like 300,000 tonnes of contained metal, with the net effect offset by imports of higher-grade material and more domestic recycling.

However, new rules that took effect at the start of March go way beyond simply weeding out lower-grade scrap.

The key is the concept of “carried waste”, which means any contaminants in a shipment of scrap material. The Chinese authorities have set thresholds at 0.5 percent of total weight for paper, wood and plastic and 1 percent for non-ferrous metals.

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