China has begun to implement its new regulations for iron and steel scrap imports, effective Jan. 1. The policy recognizes that “recycled iron and steel raw materials” (GB/T39733-2020) are not solid waste and may be freely imported. Exporters of iron and steel scrap to China should make sure that the material complies with the standard and that the same language that is found in the standard (“recycled raw materials”)—and not “scrap”—is used on shipping documents, Adina Renee Adler, ISRI’s vice president of advocacy, says. Material labeled as “scrap” or “waste” may be rejected, she adds.

The management system has assigned the harmonized tariff codes 7204100010, 7204210010, 7204290010, 7204410010, and 7204490030 to the material, but the Chinese government has not issued guidance on which type of material is assigned to each code, Adler says. ISRI awaits the release of more information.

Adler says the move towards clarifying the importation system may have positive implications for iron and steel scrap recyclers. “We do not have a lot of ferrous scrap moving to China right now, because China still does significant steel production from iron ore,” she says. “But they are increasing their electric-arc furnace capacity … You could see more material moving into China in the future.”