China’s scrap policy among concerns of WTO

container ship

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) continued their three-year review of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, discussing 56 trade concerns, including China’s environmental protection control standards for imported solid waste as raw materials

China has introduced new standards on environmental protection requirements for solid waste imported as raw materials. According to China, the objective of the new standards is protection of the ecosystem and the environment, the protection of human health and safety and the protection of animal and plant life or health.

The European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan highlighted that the transition time (14 weeks) is not enough for the relevant industries to adapt to the measure. They also warned of the effect this measure would have on the environment if recycling alternatives were not found and the waste materials end up in landfills or are burned.

Members asked China if the standards apply to domestic operators in the same way as foreign ones and urged China to look into alternative measures to fulfil the same environmental goals in a less trade-restrictive manner.

China said its efforts to regulate imports of solid waste go hand in hand with efforts to promote improvements in domestic solid waste treatment and disposal, and that it would ensure a smooth transition and fulfillment of transparency obligations under WTO rules.

Every three years, WTO members evaluate how they are applying the TBT Agreement. The review is driven by members’ proposals for new work, relating to specific topics addressed by the TBT Committee.

Other trade concerns being addressed by the WTO include the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive, to which Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala have expressed concern.

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