The current PRC Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes prohibits the import, dumping and disposal of both solid wastes, unless subject to a specific import license, and hazardous wastes.
This law has been in effect in the PRC since 1 August 2011 and will be revised as per 01 September 2020. It imposes joint and several liability on both the carrier and importer for the return and disposal of the solid waste where the solid waste is prohibited and/or proper license has not been obtained, and significantly increases the fines that can be imposed for violations.
The solid wastes that are prohibited from import, dumping and disposal in the PRC and/or are subject to import licensing are set out in catalogues of solid waste products as published and adjusted by the competent departments under the State Council of the PRC in 2017 and 2018. They are annexed to this circular as follows:
- Annex I – Catalogue of Solid Wastes Prohibited from Importation into the PRC and that cannot be imported;
- Annex II – Catalogue of Solid Wastes that can be used as raw materials under Import Restrictions and that can be imported with an Import License of the PRC for Restricted Solid Wastes that Can be Used as Raw Materials, but will be prohibited from import from 1st January 2021;
- Annex III – Catalogue of Solid Wastes that can be used as raw materials and that are not under Import Restrictions, but will be prohibited from import from 1st January 2021;
- Annex IV – Catalogue of Hazardous Wastes that are already, and will continue to be, prohibited from importation into the PRC.
Members should also be aware that the PRC intends to reduce the import of solid wastes during the latter half of 2020 and that all solid wastes will be prohibited from import into the PRC from 1 January 2021. As a result, from this date the licensing regime will no longer be in place for the import of solid wastes.
Members trading in this region are encouraged to exercise caution and remain vigilant for any activity which may fall within the scope of the PRC Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes. Customs are expected to increase the inspections of cargo and the quarantine of the imported solid waste in an effort to enforce the new law. Members are also advised to conduct thorough due diligence, carefully checking a request to transport any kind of waste into China in order to avoid being suspected of smuggling and therefore avoid potential fines for violations of the law.