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Scrap metal recycling – business opportunities await

Posted by U.S. Customs Dept. - Cole International on Feb 7, 2018 8:43:00 AM
Scrap metal recycling involves the recovery of metal scrap from the manufacturing industries and from metal products that have reached the end of their useful life.
The scrap metal industry is an important and well-established one that offers both environmental benefits – diverting many tons of material from landfills every year to provide raw material for new products – and economic ones, offering many business opportunities along a complex supply chain.
Scrap Metal in the U.S.
In 2012, the U.S. scrap metal industry was valued at over $90 billion. And Canada is the top exporter of scrap to the U.S. Today, scrap metal ranks as the number one recycled material in the world. Maybe it’s worth considering becoming a scrap metal exporter!
Ferrous vs Non-Ferrous
These two categories of metal are treated differently when traded across the border. So let’s first understand what they are.scrap metal recycling
  • Ferrous metals contain iron and are magnetic. Most also have small amounts of other elements or metals added to them. Some examples are stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, and wrought iron, and come from sources such as vehicles, demolition sites, railroad rails and manufacturing.

  • Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron, are not magnetic, and are typically corrosion-resistant. Some examples of non-ferrous metals are aluminum, brass, lead, tin, copper, and precious metals like gold and silver. Non-ferrous scrap metals come from sources such as electrical cables, water pipes and aluminum cans.

Importing scrap into the U.S.
Importers and exporters of scrap metal need to be aware of their responsibilities in order to reap the economic benefits they offer – and to make for a smooth experience at the border.
Anyone bringing scrap metal into the U.S. needs to know the tariff classifications, NAFTA applicability, and any other duty relief provisions that apply to each shipment. They may also be required to provide detailed proof of the metal’s content in the form of a “re-melt certificate” (read on…).
Most non-ferrous scrap metal such as aluminum, tin, or nickel can enter the U.S. duty-free as long as a valid NAFTA certificate is completed.
Ferrous scrap may or may not incur duties upon importation. Here’s what you need to know.
  • Ferrous scrap is classed under Chapter 72 of the HSUS, under which there is a duty-free provision

  • In order to qualify for duty-free status, a “re-melt certificate” must be completed by the facility conducting the processing (e.g. melting, shredding, shearing, compacting, etc.) indicating that the material has been rendered fit only for recovery of its metal content

  • U.S. Customs also requires a Mill Test Certificate (a.k.a. Mill Analysis, Certified Mill Test Report, Inspection Certificate, etc.). This is a certified quality assurance document that certifies a material’s chemical and physical properties.

  • When this certificate is provided by the foundry or manufacturer that produced the material, it also serves as country of origin documentation for that product.

What should they do about it?
Some of the documentation required for scrap metal importation comes with strict timelines and record keeping requirements. An experienced customs professional can help you make sense of what’s required so you don’t use your valuable time trying to figure it all out.
Our Customs Consulting department has the necessary expertise to help importers and exporters get the information they need to successfully trade in scrap metal.
Contact us today!
Information provided by: U.S. Customs Consulting Dept. - Cole International