BELGIUM: The refrigerant manufacturers group, EFCTC, has called on European member states to ensure that companies granted an HFC import or production quota are in compliance with all regulations.
Faced with a further large cut in the European HFC quota next year, and ongoing concerns with the high level of illegal imports, the EFCTC has called on member states to ensure that the 1,386 provided with quota are in compliance with the REACH regulations and can legitimately import and sell HFCs in the EU.
The European Commission recently listed 1,386 companies that had been provided with a quota to import and sell HFC refrigerants for the period 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2023.
The EFCTC had previously complained that the system was not sufficient enough to confirm the legitimacy of new entrants and to prevent them from importing in excess of quota. It argued that companies could simply shut down to avoid repercussions or mis-declare data to the HFC registry.
“This is an important part of the process that enables companies to import and sell HFCs legally in the EU,” said Dr Nick Campbell, chairman of EFCTC, but still raised concerns over the large quantities of HFCs that are illegally entering the EU.
Research by the EFCTC has previously estimated that, since the introduction of the F-gas regulation, the EU market has seen a surge in illegally imported HFCs of as much as 33% more than the legal quota allowance. Concerns are heightened with another big step down in quota next year to 45% of the baseline – down from 63% in 2020.
“By rigorously implementing the Ultimate Beneficial Owner principle, the European Commission has taken action to ensure that legitimate companies receive HFC quotas to control illegal imports that have major economic and environmental consequences. Now is the time for member states to play their part,” Campbell said.
The EFCTC urged national competent authorities to check, before the end of this year, that the 1,386 companies listed in the Commission decision are in compliance with REACH and can legitimately import and sell HFCs in the EU.
“Having an HFC quota is only one criterion for the legal importation and sale of HFCs in the EU, REACH is another one,” Campbell said.
The EFCTC maintains that it is vital that national competent authorities and inspectorates ensure that HFCs are imported in legitimate refillable containers and properly labelled.