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Industry group calls for action on illegal refrigerants

UK: Companies involved in the refrigerants market has written to the European Commission claiming that illegal HFC imports are undermining the F-gas phase down and putting the regulation at risk. 

The group says it is the most pressing issue affecting the market. It also warns that unless strong measures (in coordination with non-EU countries) are adopted, the EU will not reach its objective of becoming the “first climate-neutral continent”.

The current framework, it says, allows foreign traders (notably from China) to obtain quick profits, exploiting a demand for cheap HFCs with little risk of punitive measures. This results in a lack of level-playing field between compliant and non-compliant operators, with a very negative impact on financial results (EBITDA) of compliant operators. 

The initiative has been driven by refrigerant supplier A-Gas and is backed by a number of European companies including Italian controls manufacturer Carel, German wholesaler Schiessl, as well as the UK manufacturers association FETA and the German refrigeration, air conditioning heat pumps association ZVKKW. 

It calls for the implementation of a fully functional licensing system to allow customs officials to access real-time information to determine if HFC imports are within a company’s specified quota. 

To ensure a sufficient deterrent to black marketeers, the group also maintains that penalties for infringements should be harmonised across all member states to a level that act as a deterrent. 

It calls for member states to enforce the F-gas regulations by carrying out the appropriate checks, and for the European Commission to monitor that enforcement is applied effectively.

A copy of the complaint, compiled by international law firm GIDE, can be found here

A-Gas group commercial director is inviting all companies across Europe who are affected by the illegal trade to join the initiative. He can be contacted here

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