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HFC seizure gives EU a lesson in customs control

PHILIPPINES: Customs authorities in the Philippines have seized a container-load of HFC refrigerant for not having the necessary import documentation.

While the customs authorities of the developed nations of the EU are seemingly ill-equipped and struggling to prevent the illegal trade in HFC refrigerants, Philippines customs have this week stopped a shipment from China simply because it did not have the necessary environmental clearance.

The 20ft container of 1,150 cylinders of Koman-brand refrigerant from China, valued at P4m (€70,000), was seized by the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division of the Philippines Bureau of Customs on Monday at the Manila International Container Port.

Under Philippines law, all importers of refrigerants must be registered with the Environmental Management Bureau – a division of the government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources – and must secure pre-shipment importation clearance before the refrigerant can enter the country. According to the Bureau of Customs, the importer had neither renewed their registration as an importer nor secured the necessary clearance.

The Environmental Protection and Compliance Division was established on August 6, as a permanent and specialised unit with responsibility for monitoring and controlling the entry of hazardous substances and other wastes into the country.

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