Recycling Industry responds to China’s announcement on aluminium scrap tariffs

In response to China’s statement that it intends to impose a 25 percent import tariff on Harmonised Tariff Code 7602.00 – Aluminium Waste and Scrap – the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has released the following statement:

“In 2017, the United States exported more than $1.1 billion worth of aluminium scrap to China, which has been in a positive trade balance for more than a decade. The Chinese Government’s announcement will impact this significant U.S. scrap export, spurring concern that exports of additional scrap commodities could be impacted in future announcements.”

Facts about U.S. aluminium scrap exports:

  • The U.S. exported $2.34 billion/1.57 million metric tons of aluminium scrap worldwide in 2017. Approximately 50% of these exports went to China.
  • The U.S. exported $1.17 billion/820,000 metric tons of aluminium scrap to China in 2017. This was approximately 50% of China’s total imports of aluminium scrap that year.
  • A 25% tariff would mean a nearly $300 million price burden on a trade relationship that represents nearly 25% of the entire world’s trade in aluminium scrap.
  • Aluminium in the municipal recycling stream represents a substantial source of revenue that keeps down the cost of waste disposal and recycling programmes.
  • The second largest exporter of aluminium scrap to China in 2017 was the European Union at $360.51 million/231,556 metric tons.
  • The U.S. has an overwhelmingly large positive trade balance in aluminium scrap vis-à-vis China. The United States’ positive trade balance with China in aluminium scrap is $1.17 billion for 2017 which is 94% of our positive trade balance with the entire world.
  • South Korea ($248.6 million), India ($110.7 million), Hong Kong ($72.6 million), and Malaysia ($69.5 million) complete the top 5 economic partners with a positive trade balance in aluminium scrap with the U.S.