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August 20 2018

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August 20 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 11 Cover Story in waste products was offset by a 15.2 percent increase in vehicles to 188,414 TEU, a 19.2 percent increase in sawn and chipped wood to 155,968 TEU, a 6.1 percent increase in auto parts to 137,535 TEU, a 6.4 percent increase in cotton to 106,027 TEU, and a 6.3 percent increase in soybeans to 106,027 TEU, according to PIERS. China, which has been the larg- est US market by far for scrap paper, metals, plastics, dried distillers grains, and other low-cost products, began restricting scrap product imports several years ago for envi- ronmental reasons. Tariffs are not a cause of recyclables shifting to Southeast and South Asia. Some US agricultural exports, however, have been affected recent- ly by Chinese retaliation to Trump administration tariffs. The recent tariffs, plus China's environmental policies affecting recyclables, have shifted US westbound volumes from China to Southeast and South Asia, which don't have the extensive weekly direct services that China has. As a result, transshipment hubs in Asia are being stressed. "Without a doubt, the China situation is creating some opera- tional issues," Goldman said. The shift of commodities from China is expected to grow, the Insti- tute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) stated in a July advisory to members. "As China's market con- tinues to close to scrap imports, exporters and traders are under- standably searching for new custom- ers and markets. ISRI's trade com- mittee has directed ISRI to initiate planning for a trade mission in 2019 to Southeast Asia, a high-potential growth market for scrap trade, given their dynamic economies, growing manufacturing bases, growing mid- dle class, and access to major trade lanes," the advisory stated. Adina Renee Adler, ISRI's senior director of international relations, said China's crackdown on imports of scrap from a number of countries because of adulterated shipments is the primary cause of reduced scrap exports, with the recent round of tariffs and countertariffs by the Trump administration and the Chinese government playing a minor role. The only scrap export to be hit with Chi- nese tariffs is aluminum, she said.

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