British Metals Recycling Association statement regarding import tariffs and continuing market uncertainty.

The continuing lack of real clarity regarding the Chinese import ban on a range of waste materials, combined with the potential for knock-on effects of import tariffs between China and the US, is leading to a state of uncertainty which is affecting scrap metal prices in the UK.

According to Reuters, overall scrap metal imports into China are down by over 38% to 440,000 tonnes. Scrap copper has been hit particularly hard and is down 52% year-on-year in February while aluminium is down 29%.

“While UK is not currently affected by the US import tariffs, the climate of uncertainty is beginning to bite in the scrap sector, especially as China is an important export market for non-ferrous metals and electric motors. This state of uncertainty has been heightened further by shipping companies becoming ever more reluctant to take any waste materials to China, “said Robert Fell, Chief Executive, British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA).

As a member of the Environment Agency’s China waste restrictions liaison group, BMRA is actively trying to better understand the ongoing implications of the Chinese restrictions and to seek clarity over impurity restrictions attached to scrap metal and associated products. At the same time, the group is looking to receive reassurance that China is applying the same standards over impurity restrictions to domestic operators.

BMRA will continue to monitor the situation and will update members as more information becomes available.  At the same time, it will also continue to strongly lobby Government to engage more fully with the situation and take active steps to support the waste sector more widely.