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HFC tax would encourage illegal trade

FRANCE: A leading French association warns that an HFC tax could increase the illegal trade in refrigerants at a time when the authorities are struggling to cope with the black market trade.

While the French National Assembly this week rejected a proposal to impose a tax on HFC refrigerants, there are concerns that the tax proposal by the Sustainable Development Committee has not gone away.

SYNEG, the association of manufacturers and suppliers of commercial catering equipment, says the European F-gas phase down has already brought a sharp decrease in the use of high GWP refrigerants and maintains that a tax would harm the competitiveness of French manufacturers.

Also, it says, with the authorities in charge of market surveillance already struggling to monitor compliance with HFC quotas at the European level, their taxation in France could increase the attractiveness of illegal supply, “with its deleterious consequences for the safety of users”.

SYNEG argues that if the aim of the promoters of the proposed tax is to accelerate the uptake of low GWP refrigerants then it would be more effective to repeal the French regulations that currently restrict the use of flammable refrigerants. It calls for a repeal of article CH35, which bans the use of A2 and A3 refrigerants in public buildings, calling it “a typically French-French over-regulation” when the refrigerants are widely accepted elsewhere in Europe.

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