Tougher Chinese wastepaper rules pull down US exports

Tougher Chinese regulations on imported wastepaper shipments helped drive down U.S. containerized exports in September. Total U.S. containerized exports in September shrank 3.3 percent from August to 929,023 20-foot containers, the lowest volumes since June 2011, according to preliminary data from PIERS, the data division of the JOC Group. September’s exports were 10 percent lower year-over-year, contributing to a 1.1. percent decline in U.S. containerized export volume in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2013.


Shipments to countries in Northeast Asia, which include China, saw the largest decline in containerized goods from the U.S. in September, with volumes dropping 10 percent year-over-year to 387,571 TEUs. Containerized exports of animal feed to northeast Asia fell 16 percent year-over-year to 81,134 TEUs, largely because of China’s blocking of the shipment of U.S. dried distillers grains.

Chinese importers of U.S. wastepaper are expecting even stricter guidelines in early 2015, as a proposal circulated in August by the Ministry of Environmental Protection signals a greater emphasis on environmental protection. Under the proposal, the MEP would cancel automatic import licensing in 2014, according to, an information provider for the paper trade.

The existing restrictions contributed to U.S. containerized exports to China in September falling  15 percent year-over-year to 210,995 TEUs. Containerized exports to India from the U.S. posted the largest country-by-country growth in September, jumping 33 percent year-over-year to 32,122 TEUs.

Wastepaper exports from the U.S. to both southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent were up by about 30 percent, tho the two regions combined to bring in 20,788 TEUs in September, less than a quarter of northeast Asia’s total.

Exports of containerized auto parts grew the most of any U.S. commodity, jumping 18 percent or 3,660 TEUs to 24,438 TEUs in September.

PIERS data will be continue to be revised, and numbers are subject to change.

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