Standing Firm Against Unfair China Policies

Chinese paper mills have long used recovered paper imported from the U.S. to manufacture new paper-based packaging materials and other paper.

In July of 2017, China’s government notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it was banning the importation of 24 categories of recyclable materials by the end of 2017, including unsorted waste and scrap paper - what the U.S. industry describes as “mixed paper.” Then, in November of 2017, China notified the WTO that starting March 1, 2018 it was requiring that the amount of contaminates allowed in all other recovered paper imports would be a very restrictive 0.5 percent, rather than 1.5 percent. 

This restrictive policy mischaracterizes imports of mixed paper and the other grades of recovered paper as solid waste and garbage, which they are not. China is violating the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and other WTO rules by banning mixed paper imports regardless of quality and without supporting evidence of harm to the environment, health or safety, and giving preference to domestically-sourced recovered paper.

AF&PA’s actions on this policy include:

  • Filing comments with the WTO and Chinese government to both of China’s notifications stating that the restrictive measures do not comply with WTO rules.
  • Voicing opposition to China’s policies with officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, who in turn have raised the issue with their Chinese counterparts.
  • Provided input for USTR’s official comments to Chinese authorities on China’s draft solid waste regulation emphasizing the need to draw a clear line between recovered paper that has an economic value and solid waste.

Related: China’s Discriminatory Policies One Pager (PDF)