China confirms ‘recycled’ imports for metals sector

China has confirmed “breakthrough” concessions for the import of specific “recycled materials” for its metals sector. And, it has also announced a reduction in a range of tariffs for imported materials which are understood to include some metals.

The announcement on tariff reductions came this week from the country’s Ministry of Finance a week after a statement from the China Iron and Steel Industry Association that the country will implement its national standard on recycling iron and steel materials from 1 January 2021.

The comments from the China Iron and Steel Industry Association (CISA) were issued last week by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment and were first reported by China Daily.

A Shangai steel mill: Steelmakers will be able to import some recycled materials (picture: Shutterstock)

With a ban on “solid waste” imports coming into force from 1 January 2021, the concession is seen as the first of potentially others which will allow in “recycled resources”.


As yet, there is no official indication though that this will also apply to specific grades of recovered paper (otherwise known as waste paper) but some sector experts say this could eventually happen if high quality material was available as it is likely to be needed by Chinese mills.

Acceptance rules

In the Ministry’s posting it is stated: “The standard specifies the definition, classification, technical requirements, inspection methods and acceptance rules for recycling iron and steel materials,” and this is attributed to Zhang Longqiang, head of the China Metallurgical Information and Standardization Institute.

The statement continued: “It will provide standard technical support to ensure the import of high-quality recycled steel resources, said Zhang, who participated in the drafting of the standard.”

And it goes on to highlight the benefits of using recycled material.

‘Compared with using iron ore, steel-making with recycled iron and steel materials can greatly reduce pollutant emissions’

China Iron and Steel Association

“Meanwhile, the standard has strict requirements regarding environmental protection. Compared with using iron ore, steel-making with recycled iron and steel materials can greatly reduce pollutant emissions, according to the standard’s drafting committee.

“The standard will facilitate the green transformation and healthy development of the steel industry, as it allows steel companies more raw-material options, while limiting the use of iron ore and its price increase to some extent,” said Jiang Wei, deputy Party chief of CISA.

Jiang added the industry will be able to exploit more recycled raw materials, both at home and abroad, and better recycle and utilise resources after the standard is implemented.


The Ministry/China Daily report concluded: “The steel industry has long faced the challenges of resource dependence, environmental constraints and cost pressure. The standard has attracted much attention as it is considered a breakthrough point for the industry in solving development problems, according to industry insiders.

“The external market environment, with its increasing uncertainties, has forced companies to trade futures to control risks, and relevant parties have been pushing forward the listing of recycling iron and steel materials futures.”


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