China ups ante in trade war, imposes tariff that could doom U.S. paper recycling

Most of the headlines from the trade war between China and the United States have focused on tariffs on aluminum and steel, but China also has placed a levy on recycled paper pulp. While not as well known, the 25 percent tariff could bankrupt the beleagured recycling industry in the United States.

China’s latest round of retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., announced in August, includes something called “recovered fiber materials,” basically, the paper, newspaper and cardboard that we put in the recycle bin. Trucks collect paper, bundle it at local centers and sell it as bales, mostly to China, to be incorporated into new products. It’s the cycle of recycling.
And now there’s a tariff on those exports, another cost for an industry already weakened by China’s announcement in January that it no longer would import most plastics and certain other recycled goods from the United States. The tariff was put in place the day the Trump administration imposed additional duties on Chinese imports.

“This is a huge impact on the paper business in the United States,” said Baizhu Chen, a business professor at the University of Southern California. “By taking a unilateral position against other countries, imposing a tariff against other countries, the U.S. is causing huge damage on the global trading system.”

“Certainly, the impact has been considerable to us in the first quarter,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability for Republic Services, a solid waste collection company in Phoenix. “So, increased cost, decreased revenue, that doesn’t make for a winning equation in today’s marketplace.”

Since China’s import ban on most U.S. recycled products, municipal recycling programs have spent much of 2018 in crisis mode. And some U.S. cities can’t make it work. Phoenix, though, has had an edge, according to Rick Peters, deputy solid waste director for the city.
more at source: https://www.paysonroundup.com/news/arizona/china-ups-ante-in-trade-war-imposes-tariff-that-could/article_f1f725ec-b163-11e8-8d7e-9f50864b5e52.html

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