WTO members question China import waste ban

Five World Trade Organization (WTO) members have questioned China’s import ban on solid waste, notably certain scrap materials, at the 3 October meeting of the WTO Committee on Import Licensing.

It comes after China notified the WTO that it would be imposing a ban on imports of certain kinds of solid waste by the end of 2017.

The United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Korea have asked for more information on which types of materials would be affected. Members noted that this issue was of great interest to their business sectors.

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The United States raised significant concerns with the changes to import licensing with regards to China’s implementation of an existing import ban on plastic and paper scrap. The US asked whether China has plans to extend the measure to cover ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, and if so, when this would be put into place and under what procedures. The US asked China to adhere to notification obligations, particularly for ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, arguing that this constituted a multi-billion market for US stakeholders.

Canada argued in the meeting that the recently announced restrictions were already creating problems for traders in the nation. It said it wanted to know the specific products China would ban as part of its catalogue of solid waste

Canada said it shares the concern of the United States as the recently announced restrictions were already creating issues for its traders. Canada said it wanted to know the specific products China intended to ban as part of the catalogue of solid waste.

Australia noted it had raised similar concerns over this issue both in Geneva and in Beijing. The EU also requested more details on the policy. Korea said it will closely monitor the measures and that it will further cooperate with China as necessary.

China’s delegation responded that it will forward these concerns to its capital for consideration.

The chair said the next WTO Committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for 20 April 2018.

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