New draft of Chinese waste law retains clause on “gradually reducing” imports

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Xu Hui
Xu Hui presents on the new clauses in the latest Chinese solid waste law draft

China’s proposed revised solid waste law still contains a plan to gradually reduce to zero imports of solid waste, following the latest draft.

At the country’s 15th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress, deputy chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Committee Xu Hui reported on the changes to the proposed legislation.

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The majority of the small number of changes were on domestic waste sorting and classification with the clause on solid waste imports remaining unchanged.

Article 23 of the draft law still says that “the State gradually realises the zero import of solid waste”.

A clause on fines and actions following illegal imports has been moved from Article 92 to Article 107 due to the increased number of clauses on domestic waste.

If illegal waste is sent into China, a fee of RMB 500,000 will be charged (£54,500 at current exchange rates) and a fine of up to RMB 5 million (£545,000).

The carrier and importer of the illegal waste will have joint responsibility to return and dispose of the material.

This new draft of the Revised Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste is now open to consultation.

Comments on the solid waste law need to be sent to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee Legislative Affairs Commission by 26 January 2020.

The last time the draft legislation was reviewed was in June 2019 at the 11th meeting of the Standing Committee and it took until the end of December and the 15th meeting of the Standing Committee for the next draft.

If the same timetable is used, it could be another six months before the legislation is presented before the Standing Committee again. It is tentatively believed that the proposed legislation will become law at some point during this year.

Originally, the first draft of the legislation in July 2018 proposed a complete ban, with an assumption this would be at the end of 2020. However, the last two drafts have contained the “gradually realise zero solid waste imports” aspiration.

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