Malaysia revokes import licenses in new blow to recycling market

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
Port Klang, Malaysia

Malaysia has revoked the import licenses of 114 scrap processors in a bid to tackle soaring waste imports after China introduced restrictions earlier this year.

Minister of Housing and local government, Zuraida Kamaruddin, announced new Malaysian operating procedures and regulations for recyclable material import licenses.

According to the state news agency, factories which had permits revoked should reapply within the next three months under the new criteria.

It is not the only country to introduce tighter restrictions, with Vietnam announcing a temporary plastic scrap ban in May and Thailand following suit in June.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said the country would not be issuing new licenses for scrap imports.

Reuters reports this is due to an effort to crack down on illegal imports and pollution concerns from a growing backlog of containers.

Writing in the Bureau of International Recycling’s (BIR) quarter report, Viridor’s Keith Trower said the restrictions have led to congestion in ports.

He said: “American material is currently flooding into the Far East market, with huge congestion resulting at ports in countries such as Vietnam and thousands of tonnes lying in stock and at ports. Ex-works UK/EU prices are now higher than in China.

“The reduction in exports [to China] has ultimately resulted in shortages in the Chinese market, with its mills willing to pay premiums for available imported material.”

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