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Trans-Pacific Partnership to create millions in revenue for recycling industry, according to ISRI

Eliminating tariffs on scrap commodities and recycling equipment exports will open new markets and expand access to existing trade partners

Trans-Pacific Partnership to create millions in revenue for recycling industry, according to ISRI

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Voice of the Recycling Industry, recently announced its support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP) in a letter to U.S. Congress. The organization says TPP will potentially generate tens of millions of dollars in additional sales revenue for U.S. recycling businesses by eliminating tariffs on scrap commodities and recycling equipment exports.

“Opening new markets and expanding access to existing trade partners, the TPP will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, make a positive contribution to our balance of trade, and create thousands of recycling jobs across America,” wrote ISRI Chair Mark Lewon and ISRI President Robin Wiener. “The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of recycled commodities. Within the U.S. scrap commodities account for one of the largest exports by value, making up more than a quarter of the industry’s economic activity.”

The letter from ISRI points out that the U.S. already has low tariffs in place, or has eliminated tariffs (see APEC news below), for the import of scrap commodities and recycling equipment. But at the same time, U.S. exporters face significant trade barriers including import tariffs that restrict the free flow of these goods. For example, tariff duties were applied to nearly $700 million worth of U.S. ferrous scrap exports annually with ad valorem rates ranging from 0.78 to 6 percent.

U.S. Scrap Recycling Industry facts and figures

  • In 2015, the U.S. exported more than 37 million metric tons of scrap commodities to more than 150 countries worldwide, generating $17.5 billion in export sales;
  • Since 2000, scrap commodity exports have made a positive contribution to our balance of trade in excess of $210 billion;
  • Scrap exports alone account for more than 125,000 U.S. jobs and generate more than $28 billion in economic activity; and
  • $1.31 billion in federal tax revenue and $1.65 billion in state and local revenues is generated by scrap export

    From February, 2016:
    APEC Cuts Tariffs on Recycling Equipment

    In an effort to boost trade and improve access to the tools needed to fight climate change, the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies have published implementation plans to cut tariffs in 2016 to five percent or lower on a list of 54 environmental goods.

    Within the APEC 54 list, there are five unique tariff lines dedicated to scrap recycling equipment: Shredders (84789), Granulators (847990), Crushing and Grinding (847420 and 847982), and Electrical and Nonelectrical Spectrometers (902730). Recycling equipment exported from the U.S. totaled $435 million in 2011. The global elimination of tariff barriers allows recycling equipment manufacturers’ to sell their equipment more fairly with considerable savings.

    APEC is the premier Asia-Pacific economic forum with the primary goal of supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The use of recycling equipment plays a critical role in the global supply chain recycling used and end-of-life products, such as automobiles, white goods, bottles, and tires in order to make new products, such as solar panels, wind mills, and hybrid and electric automobiles.

    To further such tariff reductions, ISRI has been working with 13 World Trade Organization (WTO) members that have pledged to liberalize global trade in a broader Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). This initiative builds on the momentum created by the APEC process. ISRI advocates to include a broader list of recycling equipment and recyclable commodities, such as recoverable fiber, on the WTO, EGA list. APEC countries include: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, and Viet Nam.

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