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Chinese authorities sieze smuggled waste tires

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According to the China Daily newspaper, the Chinese customs authority has seized more than 8,500 tons of used tires smuggled from the United States, the largest amount in recent years. China bans importing waste tires due to environment and health safety issues.

Smugglers pretended they were importing rubber and shipped the tires to the coastal city of South China's Guangzhou via Hong Kong between December 2008 and February 2009, the paper reports.

In December, Huangpu Customs officials in Guangzhou found 366 uncleared containers of the smuggled waste at the Dongjiangkou Port, which had been stored there for almost a year.

Transporting waste tires from the United States to China costs only $4 to $10 per ton, but smugglers could profit by using the waste tires for oil refining and tire retreading, the newspaper reports. An investigation found the suspects had tried to get a license for rubber imports to cover the smuggling efforts. Three suspects have been arrested.

The newspaper says “exporting waste to developing countries has become a growing business as developed nations seek to reduce the environment cost on their own soil and smugglers eye great profitability from the dealing."

Since 2005, the Chinese customs has nabbed 44,275.8 tons of solid waste in 229 cases. More than 600 smugglers have received criminal punishment.

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