U.S.-China Trade Dispute Escalates

The Chinese government has announced retaliatory tariffs on $16 billion worth of American goods, and the list includes all scrap commodities, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). These tariffs will go into effect on August 23. OCC, newsprint and some higher-grade recovered fibers will face an additional 5% tariff when imported to China, according to the Chinese government.This is in retaliation for the U.S. Administration’s announcement that tariffs would be imposed on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods beginning on August 23. 

“Recovered fiber shipments to China have already faced a 25% tariff for about a year, which means the levy on those materials will now be 30%,” Resource Recycling reports. China remains the largest market for U.S. OCC exports. From January through June 2019, China imported 2.24 million short tons of OCC from the U.S. China imported 900,000 short tons of the additional recovered fiber grades named in the tariffs during the first six months of this year. 

ISRI is already hearing from contacts in China that the announcement has caused consternation among Chinese consumers of U.S. scrap commodities. “Although these tariffs will not be levied on imports from other countries, it is our understanding that other regions may not be able to fulfill all of China’s demand. This is in line with other reports that the trade war has had an impact on the Chinese economy across many sectors,” ISRI stated. 

As the trade dispute between the United States and China continues to escalate ISRI has sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer informing them of the distress to the U.S. recycling industry caused by a combination of China’s import policies and the tariff war and appealing for them to return to the negotiating table with the Chinese.

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