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Environmental and Sustainability Aspects of Scrap Metal Import

The quality control measures and standards that importers must adhere to when bringing metal scrap into India


The quality control measures and standards that importers must adhere to when bringing metal scrap into India Metal Scrap Import Standards in India

Importing metal scrap into India involves various quality control measures and standards that importers must adhere to. India, like many other countries, has specific regulations and instructions in place to ensure the quality and safety of imported metal scrap. These measures aim to protect the environment human health, and promote the responsible handling of scrap materials. In this comprehensive guide, we will analyse the key quality control measures and standards that importers must follow when bringing metal scrap into India.

1. Regulatory Framework:

To regulate the import of metal scrap, the primary authority in India is the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). The DGFT issues policies and guidelines for imports and exports, including metal scrap. Importers must stay informed about the latest regulations, which can change over time.

2. Customs Procedures:

The Customs Department plays a pivotal role in controlling the quality of imported metal scrap. Importers must follow specific customs procedures, including obtaining an Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) from the DGFT and complying with customs duties and documentation requirements. Importers must also adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Customs Act of 1962 and any subsequent amendments.

3. BIS Standards:

A crucial authority, BIS or the Bureau of Indian Standards, is responsible for formulating and maintaining standards for various products, including metal scrap. Importers must ensure that the metal scrap they are importing complies with relevant BIS standards if any exist for the specific type of metal.

4. ISRI Standards:

Many countries, including India, follow the guidelines and standards set by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), an international trade association representing the recycling industry. Importers should familiarise themselves with ISRI standards to ensure that the quality of the imported scrap meets internationally accepted criteria.

5. Pre-shipment Inspection:

Importers may be required to undergo pre-shipment inspection and certification by approved agencies. These agencies evaluate the quality and quantity of the metal scrap before it is shipped to India. Importers must engage with these agencies and obtain the certifications to confirm the scrap’s quality.

6. Compliance with Environmental Laws:

Importers must adhere to India’s environmental laws, which include the disposal and handling of hazardous waste. Certain types of metal scrap may be considered hazardous, and importers must ensure that they handle such materials in an environmentally responsible manner. One must take the help of expert environment consultants like EcoserveIndia to know more about the rules and regulations associated with this.

7. Customs Tariff Codes:

Importers must classify the imported metal scrap correctly using the Harmonized System (HS) codes or Customs Tariff codes. The code used must accurately reflect the type and quality of the scrap, as it determines the applicable customs duties and other import-related requirements.

8. Prohibition on Radioactive Materials:

Importing radioactive materials is strictly prohibited in India. Metal scrap importers must ensure that the scrap they are importing is free from any radioactive contamination.

9. Quality Testing and Inspection:

Importers should engage certified laboratories or inspection agencies to perform quality testing and inspect the metal scrap. These tests may include checking the chemical composition, dimensions, weight, and other relevant characteristics to ensure compliance with specified standards.

10. Licensing and Registration:

Depending on the type and volume of metal scrap being imported, importers may need to obtain licenses or register with the relevant authorities. These permits may include Environmental Clearance, Consent to Establish, Consent to Operate, and other authorisations.

11. Notification to Ports and Customs:

Importers must notify the relevant port authorities and customs about the arrival of metal scrap. This notification allows for customs inspections and compliance checks to be conducted.

12. Container Inspection:

The customs authorities often conduct container inspections to verify the contents and quality of the metal scrap. Importers must cooperate with customs officials during these inspections.

13. Compliance with Basel Convention:

India is a signatory to the Basel Convention (BC), an international treaty that controls the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, including certain types of metal scrap. Importers must ensure that their shipments comply with the provisions of the convention.

14. Duty and Taxes:

Importers should know the applicable customs duties, Goods and Services Tax (GST), and other taxes that may be imposed on metal scrap imports. Compliance with these financial obligations is essential to clear customs and receive imported goods.

15. Documentation and Records:

Importers must maintain accurate and complete records of all transactions related to the import of metal scrap. This includes bills of lading, certificates of inspection, customs declarations, and any other relevant documents.

16. Transshipment and Re-export:

Importers planning to transship or re-export metal scrap must comply with the relevant customs regulations and obtain the necessary permissions.

17. Adherence to Trade Agreements:

India has entered into various trade agreements with other countries and regions. Importers must ensure that their imports comply with the terms and conditions of these agreements, which can impact customs duties and other trade-related regulations.

18. Health and Safety Standards:

Importers should prioritise the health and safety of workers involved in handling metal scrap. They must adhere to occupational health and safety standards and provide protective equipment and training.

19. Proper Packaging and Labeling:

Metal scrap must be packaged and labelled correctly to ensure safe handling during transportation and customs inspection. Improper packaging can lead to delays and additional scrutiny by customs authorities.

20. Disposal of Non-Conforming Scrap:

If imported metal scrap does not meet the required quality standards or contains hazardous elements, importers are responsible for appropriate disposal. They should engage with authorised agencies for proper disposal, recycling, or treatment of non-conforming scrap.

21. Record Retention Period:

Importers must retain records related to the import of metal scrap for a specified period, as per customs and other regulatory requirements. These records may be subject to audit and inspection by government authorities.

22. Customs Valuation:

Importers must accurately declare the value of the imported metal scrap for customs purposes. The customs valuation should be under the transaction value method or other accepted valuation methods, as specified by the World Trade Organisation’s Customs Valuation Agreement.

23. Avoiding Smuggling and Fraud:

Importers must be vigilant against smuggling and fraudulent practices, which can involve misclassification of goods, underreporting of quantities, or undervaluing of scrap. Such activities can lead to legal action and penalties.

24. Customs Bonds and Security:

Importers may be required to furnish customs bonds or security to guarantee payment of customs duties and compliance with import regulations. The necessary amount of security may vary based on the value and nature of the imported scrap.

25. Safety and Environmental Audits:

Importers should consider conducting regular safety and environmental audits of their metal scrap handling and processing facilities to guarantee compliance with all applicable regulations.

26. Importation of Restricted and Prohibited Items:

Importers must know the specific items restricted or prohibited from importation in India. Some types of metal scrap, such as used batteries, may be subject to special restrictions.

27. Conformity Assessment Programs:

Specific categories of metal scrap may be subject to conformity assessment programs, where the imported scrap is tested and assessed for compliance with specified standards and regulations.

28. Continuous Monitoring and Compliance Reporting:

Importers should implement continuous monitoring and reporting mechanisms to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. This includes regular reporting to customs authorities and other relevant agencies.

29. Importer Responsibilities:

Importers are ultimately responsible for the quality and compliance of the metal scrap they import. They should work closely with their suppliers to ensure that the scrap meets the required standards before shipping it to India.

30. Dispute Resolution Mechanisms:

In disputes or conflicts with customs authorities or other regulatory bodies, importers should know the available dispute resolution mechanisms, including appeals and legal processes.

31. Educational and Training Programs:

Importers should invest in training and educational programs for their employees to ensure they are aware of and capable of complying with all relevant quality control measures and standards.

32. Transportation and Handling:

The transportation and handling of metal scrap should be performed in a manner that minimises the risk of contamination, damage, and safety hazards. Proper packaging, securing, and labelling are crucial in this regard.

33. Governmental Notifications:

Importers should stay informed about any notifications, circulars, or updates from governmental agencies, as these may contain important information about regulatory changes or specific requirements for metal scrap importation.

34. Safeguard Measures and Investigations:

India, like other countries, can initiate safeguard investigations to protect domestic industries. Importers should be prepared for safeguard measures, such as quotas or tariffs, affecting their imports.

35. Risk Assessment and Management:

Importers must conduct risk assessments related to the import of metal scrap, identifying potential risks and developing strategies to manage them. This can include market risks, quality risks, and regulatory risks.

36. E-waste Management:

Some metal scrap, particularly electronic waste (e-waste), is subject to separate regulations under the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016. Importers of e-waste must comply with these rules, which include registering with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

37. Compliance with ISPM 15:

If the metal scrap is shipped on wooden pallets or packaging materials, it must comply with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) regulations. This standard pertains to treating wood packaging materials to cease the spread of diseases and pests.

38. Chemical and Hazardous Materials Regulations:

Importers should be aware of regulations concerning the import of chemicals and hazardous materials. Some metal scrap may contain hazardous substances, and importers must comply with the relevant safety and environmental standards.

39. Anti-Dumping Duties:

India may impose anti-dumping duties on certain metal scrap products if they are found to be causing injury to the domestic industry. Importers should be aware of anti-dumping investigations and potential duties.

40. Data and Information Security:

Importers must protect sensitive data and information about their metal scrap imports, including supplier contracts, quality control reports, and customs documentation.

41. Ethical and Responsible Sourcing:

Importers should prioritise ethical and responsible sourcing of metal scrap, ensuring that the imported materials are not associated with illegal or environmentally damaging practices.

42. Conflict Minerals Compliance:

Suppose the metal scrap contains minerals sourced from conflict-affected areas. In that case, importers may need to comply with regulations related to conflict minerals, such as those established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

43. Transparency and Reporting:

Importers should be transparent in their reporting and documentation, providing accurate information to regulatory authorities and stakeholders. Transparency helps build trust and ensures smooth import processes.

44. Engagement with Trade Associations:

Importers can benefit from engaging with trade associations in the metal recycling industry, as these organisations often provide valuable resources, information, and support related to compliance and best practices.

45. Compliance Audits and Due Diligence:

Importers can perform compliance audits and due diligence on their suppliers to ensure that the metal scrap they are sourcing meets all regulatory and quality standards.

46. Insurance and Risk Mitigation:

Importers may consider obtaining insurance coverage to mitigate potential risks associated with the import of metal scrap. This can include coverage for damage during transportation, customs issues, or other unforeseen circumstances.

47. Sustainability and Environmental Impact:

Importers should consider the sustainability and environmental impact of their metal scrap imports. Sustainable practices and adherence to environmental standards can enhance the reputation of the importing company.

48. Consultation with Legal Experts:

Importers should consult with legal experts specialising in customs and international trade law, like Kanakkupillai, to ensure that their import practices are legally sound and compliant with all regulations.

49. Incoterms and Contracts:

Importers should be familiar with International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) and ensure that their contracts with suppliers clearly define responsibilities, including those responsible for compliance with import regulations.

50. Public Awareness and Education:

Importers can contribute to public awareness and education regarding responsible metal scrap recycling and import practices. This may aid in raising awareness of the importance of quality control measures and standards.


In conclusion, importers of metal scrap into India must adhere to a comprehensive set of quality control measures and standards to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, safeguard the environment, and ensure the population’s safety. It is important to stay informed about the latest regulations, engage with relevant authorities and agencies, and work closely with suppliers to guarantee the quality and compliance of imported metal scrap. By following these measures and standards, importers can contribute to responsible and sustainable metal scrap recycling practices in India.

Diksha Khiatani

A writer by day and a reader at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha has completed her M. Tech in Computer Science field. Being passionate about writing, she started her career as a Writer. She finds it interesting and always grabs time to research and write about Environmental laws and compliances. With extensive knowledge on content writing, she has been delivering high-quality write-ups. Besides, you will often find her with a novel and a cuppa!