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Enquiry: What is China’s Current Stance on the Import of Solid Waste?

Photo: Import of solid waste into China
Photo: Import of solid waste into China

Increasingly, the Chinese government sees ecological and environmental protection as a priority. As a result, it has clamped down on the import, transportation and utilisation of solid wastes in a bid to eliminate all instances of “foreign muck” and related solid wastes arriving in the country, seeing them as posing a clear threat to both the environment and to public health.

To date, the newly introduced supervisory measures include:

  • A complete ban on the import of plastic waste from living sources, unsorted scrap paper, waste textile materials and vanadium slag by the end of 2017

  • An orderly, but substantial reduction in the number of categories and quantities of solid waste eligible for import, which will be phased in before the end of 2019

In line with this, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has already notified the World Trade Organization of its intention to end the import of 24 solid waste variants deemed as representing a particularly high pollution risk. These include plastic waste from living sources, unsorted scrap paper, waste textile materials and vanadium slag.

The HS Codes for these banned waste products are as follows: 3915100000 (including two variants), 3915200000, 3915300000, 3915901000 (including two variants), 3915909000 (including two variants), 2619000021, 2619000029, 2620999011, 2620999019, 4707900090, 510310909, 5103209090, 5103300090, 5104009090, 5202100000, 5202910000, 5202990000, 5505100000, 5505200000, 6310100010 and 6310900010.

All of the above 24 solid waste variants are now also listed in the Catalogue of Solid Wastes Banned from Import, with their import banned as of 31 December 2017.

In an additional move, the government has announced the introduction of a number of enhanced supervision and control measures, all intended to prevent the illegal import of prescribed waste products.

These measures include:

  • A renewed crackdown on the smuggling of illicit waste products, including rigorous investigations into all instances of the unauthorised import of hazardous waste, medical waste, electronic waste or human/animal waste, with any transgressors likely to face severe penalties.

  • Proactive screening of all applications related to the import of solid waste, as well as a reduction in the number of permits granted for such imports, with a view to limiting the total volume of solid waste imports. All imported sold waste will also be subjected to heightened supervision, including on-site inspections, follow-up verifications on all such inspections and a requirement that all such imports must be properly certified. Entry inspection and quarantine procedures will also be tightened up, while all of the relevant regulations relating to the on-site inspection of waste containers will be strictly implemented, with all such imports expected to meet the statutory standards. Any reselling, illegal processing or utilisation of imported solid waste, as well as any other acts deemed to be in violation of the environmental regulations, will be strictly investigated, with all transgressors likely to face heavy penalties.

For further details, please refer to the following:

Solid Waste Imports Curtailed as China Prioritises Environmental Protection

China Looks to Ban Solid Waste Imports and Crackdown on Smuggling in the Sector

Recategorisation Sees 24 Solid Waste Variants Face Import Ban

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research