Malaysia enforces new certificate approvals for metal scrap imports

Posted on 26 February 2020

Source: S&P Global Platts

Importers of metal scrap to Malaysia will now be required to obtain additional approvals with the country's Department of Environment, or DOE, as part of its fight against waste imports, a source from the DOE told S&P Global Platts on Tuesday.

"We have to do this to prevent other countries from sending waste into Malaysia disguised as scrap," the source said. "This was spurred by previous cases whereby exporters did not take responsibility when shipments were found to be stuffed with trashed, and it was difficult to send it back to the origins."

The move was previously made known by the DOE in December, with an interim period given till January 30, after which all shipments were required to fulfill the new guidelines. Enforcement, however, was heard being carried out this week, with more mills now heard requesting suppliers to provide such documents for the approval process.

"We knew they were going to impose something against scrap imports," a Malaysian mill source said. "But we were not aware of the final decision, until this week it seems."

Mills and traders this week were heard clamoring for further understanding of the requirements and processes related to the new guidelines, Platts noted.

The new approvals would apply to all shipments -- containers or bulk -- of metal scrap imports with the HS code 7204 (ferrous waste and scrap), 7404 (copper waste and scrap), and 7602 (aluminum waste and scrap), in both types of shipments.

Under the new guidelines, a certified third party inspector at the exporting country has to verify that the scrap shipment does not exceed 0.3% of electronic waste in weight, and another verification that the shipment is classified as non-hazardous waste (and not homogeneously mixed with others pollutants or scheduled waste) by following the definition of hazardous waste under the Basel Convention.

Additionally, for shipments of scrap that comes from vehicles or machines, they are also required to provide an additional depollution certificate by the depolluting-conducting company at the exporting country to certify that the scrap has been depolluted.

"We have to adopt such measures and guidelines to ensure that importers and exporters take full responsibility for what comes into Malaysia," the DOE source said.

Meanwhile, another additional measure introduced into the guideline forbids imports of scrap from traders without any end-user -- steel mill, steel making, or recycling facilities -- tagged to the application, thus requiring submissions of valid invoices as proof.

"This will surely bring about more costs as they will have to foot the bill for origin inspection now too," another Malaysian mill source said, voicing concerns heard from regional traders. 

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