* Further restrictions on waste imports take effect next
* Scrap metal processors will lose key supply source -
* Setting up plants in Southeast Asia entails
SUZHOU, China, April 26 (Reuters) - Scrap metal regeneration
companies in China are likely to come under "huge pressure"
after the country moved to ban imports of more types of solid
waste, the head of a Chinese metal recycling body said on
The country's recycled metal output would grow more slowly,
or even decline in some years, following the introduction of new
rules from the end of 2018, Shang Fushan, president of the
recycling branch of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry
Association told an industry forum.
China tightened impurity thresholds on imported solid waste
from March 1 this year. Next year, imports of 16 products,
including Category 7 scrap copper, such as coiled copper cable
and waste motors, will be banned. This category accounts for
about 20 percent of scrap copper imports.
The crackdown on waste imports is part of Beijing's "war on
pollution" and aimed also at helping the country move up the
global supply chain.
The Chinese government had previously approved the
establishment of a number of scrap metal regeneration firms in
coastal regions such as Tianjin, Fujian and Guangdong to process
imported waste, Shang said in Suzhou, in China's eastern Jiangsu
province, which is also a hub for foreign scrap importing.
"However, due to the tightening regulations on overseas
waste imports, these processing firms will be under huge
pressure because of a lack of material," he said.
The industry depended heavily on imported scrap metal, which
made up about 30 percent to 40 percent of raw material, he said.
The changes would lead to "a further increase in the portion
of domestic supply of the raw material," but it would take time
to fill the void, Shang said.
Last year, China imported a total of 5.74 million tonnes of
scrap metal, mainly scrap copper and aluminium, according to
official data, but imports have fallen sharply year on year so
far in 2018 as quotas have been progressively tightened.
The crackdown has prompted some Chinese companies to move to
Southeast Asian countries to seek raw materials. However, Shang
warned of the "uncertainties" of investing and building
"It is not clear whether Southeast Asian countries will also
tighten import policies and it is also hard to say how much
processing capacity these countries are willing to accept," he
(Reporting by Muyu Xu in SUZHOU and Tom Daly in BEIJING;
editing by Richard Pullin)
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