Waste exporters lose battle of Geneva - but the fight over scrap metal goes on

A ban on all hazardous waste exports from OECD to non-OECD countries by 1997 was agreed after fierce debate at a meeting under the Basel Convention in Geneva in March. Scrap metal traders responded by predicting that the world's metal industries will come to a halt, but some secondary metal producers are more sanguine. Crucial negotiations over the next three years over differences in the definitions of what is "hazardous waste" under the Convention and OECD and EC law will determine how much of the trade in waste for recovery will continue. Meanwhile, the UK Government is likely to announce soon whether it will live up to its promises and ban imports of hazardous waste for disposal from industrialised countries.

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