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China bans plastic scrap imports, largest market for US exporters

HOUSTON, July 20, 2017 (PCW) -- As China has banned imports of plastic scrap as of Sep 1-- as well as all manner of scrap and "foreign garbage" -- US exporters of plastic scrap will need to find a new destination for a market that in the first five months of this year was valued at $300.5 million.

US exports of plastic scrap, including PET scrap, totaled 807,247 mt valued at $300.5 million in Jan-May 2017, up 11,746 mt or 1.5% from Jan-May 2016, the latest US Commerce Dept data show.

Forty-one percent of these exports in Jan-May 2017, or 330,225 mt, went to China. These exports are broken down into five categories –PE, PS, PVC, PET and "other," which includes uncategorized, unsorted plastic scrap.

China officially announced its scrap and trash import ban on Tuesday. Its Ministry of Environmental Protection notified the World Trade Organization that it will prohibit imports of four classes of solid waste, including plastic scrap classified under chapter 3915 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

The US Commerce Dept is reviewing this decision, a Commerce source told PCW Thursday.

Meanwhile, US plastic scrap exports to Hong Kong in Jan-May 2017 totaled 225,685 mt, 28% of the total. -- Xavier A. Cronin

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