SEOUL, April 5 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea recently joined forces with the United States, the European Union and several other countries in expressing concerns over China’s ban on the import of plastic waste, the government said Thursday.
South Korea’s garbage pickup services stopped collecting plastic bags and Styrofoam containers starting Monday, citing a spike in processing costs. The value of waste resources has crashed in the wake of China’s ban on the importation of plastic waste from January. The development is making it hard for local collectors to turn a profit.
Seoul is struggling to come up with ways to ensure plastic waste is properly collected while at the same time allowing waste management companies to stay afloat.
South Korea expressed its concerns at a session of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade in Goods in Geneva on March 23, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
“We’ve said there are concerns over China’s import ban, and we will closely watch what kind of measures China will take,” a ministry official said.
The U.S., the EU, Japan, Australia and Canada activated a Specific Trade Concern (STC) over the issue at a WTO Technical Barriers to Trade session in Geneva on March 22, insisting that China violated WTO regulations by overly restricting trade of plastic waste and discriminating against foreign plastic waste products.
South Korea has yet to officially raise an STC over the plastic waste issue, a ministry official said, adding that policymakers in related government agencies are still discussing whether or to what extent to raise an STC.