China’s New RCP Import Policy Disrupts US and Global Markets

Changing recovered paper trade patterns, price volatility explored by new report

Boston, November 8, 2017 (Press Release) – China’s new recovered paper (RCP) import policy, including its ban on unsorted waste paper imports, is disrupting global markets. This policy is already reshaping a massive global supply chain – from waste collectors to shipping companies to paper producers throughout Asia, the Americas, and Europe. To help quantify and analyze these and other market shifts, the Outlook for Global Recovered Paper Markets has been published today by RISI, the leading source of market intelligence for the global forest products industry.

“Recovered paper prices have historically been volatile, but the past few months have been a rollercoaster,” said Hannah Zhao, RISI Senior Economist and lead author of the Outlook for Global Recovered Paper Markets. “Even though the timing of China’s new import policy was a surprise, it’s part of an overall trend we’ve seen for several years. A key part of this trend is that Asian countries other than China and Japan will drive the largest RCP demand growth rates through 2021.”

Worldwide, e-commerce will sustain growth in paper packaging consumption, helping to spur especially strong demand for old corrugated containers (OCC).

On the supply side, “Recovery rates worldwide have increased greatly since 2000, from 47% to 58.5% in 2016,” said Zhao. “This growth is leveling off, as increased availability of virgin woodfiber and reduced Chinese imports will put downward pressure on RCP demand in the short term. Looking ahead five years, we see an opportunity for waste paper exporters in the US and Europe to develop new trade patterns, selling to a broader mix of paper producers throughout the world.”

Now in its 8th Edition, the Outlook for Global Recovered Paper Markets provides:

  • Demand, recovery, and import/export data for all countries, with price histories and forecasts for key regions
  • 2017-2021 price forecasts for key RCP grades and regions
  • RCP demand, supply and price forecast in the key regional markets under different Chinese import scenarios
  • Special focus on China and the European and North American countries most affected by its RCP import restrictions

Learn more here:


About RISI (
RISI is the leading information provider for the global forest products industry. The company works with clients in the pulp and paper, packaging, wood products, timber, biomass, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions. Headquartered in Boston, MA, RISI operates additional offices throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.


For Press Inquiries, please contact:
Alan Petrillo
RISI Communications/Special Studies

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