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Baltic states hit by illegal imports

The Bridge of Friendship over the Narova River is one of the links between Estonia and Russia.

EUROPE: The illegal import of refrigerants in disposable cylinders continue with the Baltic states adding to the outcry.

In Estonia, the customs authority reports “a significant increase” in the number of attempts to import refrigerant from outside the EU. Lithuania is also being hit, with reports that its exchequer has lost up to €5m this year due to increased sales of illegal refrigerants.

The Estonian Tax and Customs Board (NTD) reports that this year there have already more than 200 attempts to bring illegal cylinders across the border from Russia. According to the NTD, there were virtually no such occurrences last year.

“In all these cases, we notified people about the safety requirements for this product and sent the goods back to the Russian Federation,” commented Videmar Linno, the head of the customs point at Ida on the Russian border. “In the case of repeated attempts, we, in addition to confiscation, have the right to impose a fine of up to €1,200,” he added.

Internet sales

Reports from neighbouring Lithuania echo concerns from the rest of Europe regarding internet sales of refrigerant in illegal non-refillable cylinders at lower than market prices. 

According to reports on the 15 min website, the Lithuanian budget has already lost €3m-€5m this year due to increased sales of illegal refrigerants.

Aware that individuals selling illegal refrigerant is not new, Mindaugas Rutkauskas of refrigerant distributors association Freolitus, said: “However, lately, the situation is really worrying since the number of such people has increased significantly.” He also expressed concern that these sales were completely open and, apparently, uncontrolled.

Related stories:

AREA raises illegal refrigerant concern21 August 2018
BELGIUM: AREA has raised concerns about illegal imports and black market trade in refrigerants in a submission to the European Commission. Read more…

Phase down sparks rise in illegal sales – 21 March 2018
EUROPE: With the F-gas regulations beginning to bite and higher GWP refrigerants becoming expensive and scarce, evidence of illegal imports and sales is increasing. Read more…

ICOOL acts on illegal refrigerant sales – 10 August 2018
CHINA: Chinese refrigerant supplier ICOOL has taken swift action after finding its refrigerant was being sold in illegal disposable cylinders in the EU. Read more…

German eBay awash with illegal R134a – 30 July 2018
GERMANY: With European authorities still reluctant to recognise the extent of illegal refrigerant sales, the Cooling Post has uncovered large amounts of illegal R134a being sold in Germany. Read more…

Poland swamped by illegal refrigerant – 25 July 2018
POLAND: A leading refrigerants organisation has reported a “massive inflow” of illegal HFCs into Poland. Read more…

Illegal refrigerant costs Greece €20m – 23 July 2018
GREECE: The Greek air conditioning and refrigeration industry has accused EU member state Bulgaria as being a gateway for illegal refrigerant from Albania, Macedonia and Turkey. Read more…

Cantas “shock” at illegal imports – 13 July 2018
TURKEY: Istanbul-based refrigerant supplier Cantas has reacted with shock to learn that its refrigerant is being imported into the UK in illegal non-refillable cylinders. Read more…

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