It has been over a year since Wuhan in China introduced the first COVID-related lockdown. With vaccines becoming more widely available, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Some manufacturers have returned to full capacity while others are waiting for further vaccination roll-out.
As a result of China’s massive infrastructure projects and other countries’ stimulus programmes, markets are strong for all non-ferrous metals. Container shortages have begun to ease in some areas. But can we really sit back, relax and enjoy normal business levels? The answer is: “Hold on, not just yet.”
Malaysia threw us a 90-miles-per-hour curve ball earlier this month when plans were announced to regulate non-ferrous scrap imports through pre-shipment inspections and metallic content requirements. This appears to be something similar to CCIC inspection although clarification of the details is still required. Indeed, the announcement came through a government-authorized agency instead of a government office. The Malaysia Non-Ferrous Metals Association, a BIR member, is working with the government agency to clarify the situation based on Basel Convention guidelines.
BIR supports all free and fair trade, but we must bear in mind that we also have the responsibility to conduct clean trade. From time to time, we are approached by unknown buyers soliciting outlawed scrap for destinations in South East Asia. If Malaysia’s new regulations take effect, other ASEAN countries may follow in their footsteps and we will suffer collateral damage once again.
Are we really seeing light at the end of the tunnel? Or are we heading into another tunnel?
Uni-All Group Ltd (USA), President of the Non-Ferrous Metals Division