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German law will combat illegal F-gas trade

GERMANY: The German environment ministry has issued a draft law which seeks to disrupt the illegal trade in HFC refrigerants by ensuring compliance throughout the supply chain.

The proposed legislation recognises that a major problem in combating the “considerable” illegal trade is that the relevant provisions of the EU F-gas regulation (517/2014) relate to the first placing on the market. Those liable are gas producers and importers, but not the downstream dealers and users. In some cases the illegal material can change hands many times, making tracing impossible.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) says that the illegal F-gas trade undermines the quota system and leads to more HFCs being used and emitted. It recognises that the suspected illegal gases, products or facilities are most often discovered by law enforcement authorities at downstream dealers and users who are not directly affected by the regulations and are often not able to provide information about their compliance.

An amendment to Germany’s Chemicals Act would implement additional documentation requirements with regard to the identity of the manufacturer or importer and compliance with the quota regulations along the supply chain. 

It would enable the competent authorities to determine the first placing on the market of such products and take action against every other member of the supply chain, regardless of whether the person concerned knew or should have recognised the violation.

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