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Illegal shipment of 72 tonnes of R22 blocked

CHINA: Collaboration between China and Thailand using OzonAction’s iPIC system has prevented the illegal shipment of 72 tonnes of ozone deleting R22.

China’s ODS import/export management office received an application from a chemical company for the shipment to Thailand last month. A third-party intermediary had been employed to broker the trade between the importer and exporter.

The size of the requested export, the involvement of a third party, and a history of recent requests from Thailand, prompted China’s ODS import/export management office to use iPIC to investigate the legitimacy of the trade with the National Ozone Unit of Thailand.

iPIC is a voluntary and informal mechanism of information exchange on intended trade between countries in ODS and hydrofluorocarbons and mixtures containing these substances. iPIC was created and is hosted by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction. The system enables countries to share details of eligible importers and exporters with other member countries through a secure online platform. iPIC focal points can carry out easy consultations with their trading partner countries to verify intended shipments of ODS. iPIC has become a global voluntary initiative used by more than 100 countries.

Thailand confirmed that the importing company was officially registered but that the approved import licence was for a different manufacturer in China. Further investigation revealed that the importer in Thailand had not requested any imports from China in 2020.

As a result, China immediately rejected the export application and temporarily suspended the Chinese exporter’s ODS export applications until investigators established that the exporting company was not involved in the fraud. 

With help from OzonAction’s Compliance Assistance Programme team in Bangkok, it was concluded that the suspected counterfeit license was created by the third-party broker. China’s ODS team attempted to contact the broker, but as is common in smuggling cases, the contact details provided on the shipping documents were not genuine or current.

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