BELGIUM: Action by the European Commission and member states to tackle the illegal trade in HFCs has been described as an “extremely positive start” by the refrigerant producers group EFCTC.
EFCTC chairman Dr Nick Campbell was commenting on a presentation by the European Commission’s DG Clima at Monday’s F-gas Roundtable in Brussels.
Speaker Bente Tranholm-Schwarz, deputy head of DG Climate Action, noted that the EC import/export statistics were consistent with the EU HFC quotas up to 2018, indicating that customs evasion is the main method for illegal HFCs.
According to the EFCTC, she noted that it was not possible to quantify the amounts of illegal HFCs entering the EU from the data available but stressed that the Commission did not deny the presence of illegal trade and was taking all relevant actions to prevent it. “Every kilogram entering the EU illegally is one kilogram too much,” she said
The actions being taken include raising the issue up the political agenda to the council of ministers and discussions with member state experts and enforcement authorities, which included working with Poland to develop best practice guidance for customs. In addition, the Commission was developing the customs single window with DG Clima for taxation and customs union to enable interactive verification of imports at the border. Discussion on data sharing with China and Turkey was also underway.
“We welcome the extensive list of actions being undertaken by the Commission and Member States to tackle this problem of illegal trade in HFCs. This is extremely positive start,” said Dr Nick Campbell.
“EFCTC believes that significant illegal activity is taking place particularly through countries neighbouring the EU and we need to see these actions accelerate and broaden. Use of illegal HFCs carries with them safety, health and environmental risks and must be stopped as soon as possible,” he added.
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