China imposes 25% tariff on recycled materials from United States

Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling
Bales of OCC cardboard for recycling

A 25% tariff will be placed on exports of waste paper and scrap metal from the United States and Canada into China.

From 23 August, all grades of recycled paper will be subject to the tariff, including mixed paper that is currently banned for import anyway.


In an announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, a total of $16 billion of goods were subject to the tariff in retaliation to US tariffs on Chinese products.

The announcement listed the following commodity codes of recycled paper:

  • 47071000 – Unbleached kraft paper and waste of corrugated paper or cardboard
  • 47072000 – Other paper mainly of bleached chemical pulp, not coloured in the mass
  • 47073000 – Paper or paperboard made mainly of mechanical pulp (for example, newspapers, journals and other similar matter)
  • 47079000 – Other, including unsorted waste and scrap.

It is the latter grade that is currently banned for import anyway.

The measure means that it will cost US exporters 25% extra to send material to China, in effect making US recycled paper 25% more expensive for Chinese buyers.

This is likely to have an impact on the UK, Europe and other non-US supplier destinations as material here will be cheaper, even if the price were to rise slightly.

In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said: “The US decided to impose a 25% tariff on the $16 billion Chinese exports to the United States from 23 August, and once again overriding domestic law over international law is a very unreasonable practice. 

“In order to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and the multilateral trading system, the Chinese side had to make the necessary counter-measures and decided to impose a 25% tariff on $16 billion from US imports and implement it in parallel with the US.”

Also included on the list are all the grades of recycled plastic that are currently banned for import into China.

The list also includes scrap copper, aluminium, tin, steel and other scrap metals.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.