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South East Asia

Malaysia’s long-anticipated “Guidelines for Importation and Inspection of Metal Scrap” came into effect on January 10 and, as expected, the new standard is one of the strictest within our industry. Previously meant to take effect on December 31 2021, it requires no more than 0.25% non-metallic waste by weight and zero circuit boards in aluminium and copper scrap imports. Ferrous scrap must have no more than 5% non-ferrous content and the same 0.25% for non-metallic material attachments.

The Malaysian state-based agency SIRIM QAS International has issued the official guidelines which can be found here - “Guidelines for Importation and Inspection of Metal Scrap” - as well as on the BIR website.

South East Asia looks poised to continue its recovery this year from the economic chaos caused by the Coronavirus pandemic as rising vaccination rates and a decline in new cases have enabled a return to normal economic activity in many countries, with greater exports driving the rebound.

Exports are soaring in some of the region’s largest economies. For example, Malaysia's exports jumped 32% on the year in December 2021 to 112.2 billion ringgit (US$ 26.9 billion). Trade data show strong growth in electrical and electronic products, which make up nearly 40% of the total, as well as in petroleum products and chemicals. Singapore’s exports rose 24.2% in the third quarter of 2021, the largest gain in around a decade.

The Asian Development Bank forecasts a 5.1% rise in gross domestic product for South East Asia in 2022. That would represent a significant increase from the 3% estimate for 2021 when the pandemic shut down many factories in Malaysia and Vietnam during the summer, which crippled the global supply chain.

The risk of further extended lockdowns in 2022 is expected to be considerably lower than in 2021 as countries are adapting to a new normal and South East Asia is learning to live with COVID.