ILLEGAL TRADE ROUND-UP JULY-AUGUST 2020
In this round-up: EFCTC and Oxera report illegal refrigerant imports could be as much as one third of EU market in 2018; German draft law will help combat illegal trade; OLAF Director explains illegal imports routes and efforts to combat illegal trade; Spanish MEP questions European Commission about illegal imports; Poland has reported recent seizures of illegal HFCs to the Ozone Secretariat; Seizures of illegal HFCs in Greece and Croatia; an international issue-illegal HCFC-22 import into Australia.
Illegal refrigerant imports could be as much as one third of EU market in 2018: Europe’s climate goals are being undermined by a thriving black market for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The exact size of the market is unknown, but a new database created by Oxera Consulting LLP shines a strong light on the issue. Oxera’s assessment of HFC trade flow data, analysed by EFCTC, indicates that this illegal trade could represent up to 34 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, or 33% of the legally allowed quota in 2018. Read the complete press release. A webinar was held on 26th June discussing the illegal trade data and is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqO8IuEt7eg&feature=youtu.be
German draft law will help combat illegal trade: Proposed as an amendment to the German Chemical Act, the measures would ensure that there is no longer a legal market for HFCs imported illegally and allows enforcement throughout the supply chain. The approach may be of interest to other Member States and potentially be considered as part of the F-Gas Regulation review.
OLAF Director explains illegal imports routes and efforts to combat illegal trade: The Director of Investigations of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) Ernesto Bianchi, in an interview with La Stampa (15 June 2020), explained that traffickers are adept at identifying regulatory flaws, taking advantage of the ease with which goods move in the European single market including the abuse of transit procedures. Between mid-February and mid-May 2020, OLAF helped to block HFC refrigerants at European borders equivalent to about 88,000 tonnes of CO2. He commented that disposal of seized gases can be very expensive, some states do not have economic resources and technology to do so, requiring different solutions may be adopted. Read the complete interview in La Stampa, which covers other aspects of illegal trade.
Spanish MEP, César Luena, tables a written question to European Commission about illegal HFC refrigerant imports (see Cooling Post).
Poland has reported recent seizures of illegal HFCs to the Ozone Secretariat: The detailed data on quantities and refrigerants is available on the webpage “Information reported by the Parties on illegal trade” listed under Information on illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances reported by Poland pursuant to paragraph 7 of decision XIV/7 see https://ozone.unep.org/countries/additional-reported-information/illegal-trade
Seizures of illegal HFCs. GREECE: The police stopped a truck carrying about 3.5 tonnes of illegal refrigerant, which is thought to include R-404A and banned HCFC-22. The refrigerants gas appeared to be contained in illegal non-refillable cylinders (see Cooling Post). CROATIA: Customs officers stopped a car carrying 22 cylinders of R134a refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders (see Cooling Post).
An international issue – illegal HCFC-22 import into Australia: Since January 2020 importers can no longer import HCFC equipment, or equipment designed to operate solely on HCFCs, unless an exemption is held. A company has been fined for importing HCFC-22 without a controlled substances licence. The refrigerant was imported in banned disposable cylinders. Read the complete article in Mirage News (15 June 2020).