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During the last few weeks, the common theme on the radio and television, as well as in the written press and on social media, has been the elections in the Netherlands and the subsequent result. The outcome could be seen as a potential foretaste of what is to come in neighbouring Belgium where elections are due to be held next year. 

This focus on the elections has diverted attention from a couple of car manufacturing industry developments in the Benelux markets - one a cause for sadness and the other for optimism. Netherlands-based VDL Nedcar has announced that it will stop manufacturing cars and will cut its workforce from 2000 to roughly 430 people (just in case of a potential start-up project), whereas Volvo has confirmed that production of the EX30 - previously confined solely to China - will come to Gent in Belgium. It could be argued that, by bringing production to Belgium, there is a future for car assembly plants within the Benelux. 

Looking at the recycling markets in the region, the current climate is rather calm. Exports remain strong for the traditional commodities and the appetite for higher-grade copper items is largely supported by Belgium’s main red metal consumer. As some of the other copper consumers are less hungry, more Millberry and high-grade chops are showing wider availability. 

The same could be said about the availability of lead units as demand in the domestic markets is low. It is interesting to note the changing and developing interest out of the Indian market for a wider variety of materials. Aluminium, stainless steel and zinc are also facing lower levels of demand at present.

Talking to various market participants within the Benelux, many questions and concerns are being raised about the potential new sets of rules and regulations.