24 March 2019

EFCTC Sponsors Illegal Trade Action Line. In response to rapid emergence of illegal traffic of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs- or refrigerants) across the European Union, and in order to assist the EU and Member States, EFCTC has launched a programme to fight against this illegal trade. EFCTC has engaged the services of a specialized consultant that has considerable experience in identifying illegal trade. One of the programme’s features is an “Action Line” that will permit any individual to report alleged suspect HFC offerings confidentially to a trusted and independent contractor. Through the Action Line powered by EQS, leading provider of digital compliance solutions, anyone can report a (in its own language, by telephone/webform) suspicious offering of HFCs in full confidence. It will not be necessary to provide conclusive evidence, just a sufficient lead enabling the consultants to follow up. It is expected that these leads will create a more detailed picture of the illegal HFCs supply chain which can be shared with the EU/national authorities.

Use of the Action Line will be confidential and independently operated by the consultant. EFCTC members will have no access whatsoever to individual reports that come into the Action Line. If desired, anyone reporting a suspect offering can remain anonymous, but the consultant would prefer to have an opportunity to follow-up on a reported case. For more details on the Action Line please click this

For more detail see the complete EFCTC press release ‘European Fluorocarbon Producers Sponsor Illegal Trade Action Line

In the Netherlands, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) intercepted in late February an illegal shipment of HFC-134a in 123 cylinders each containing 13.6 kg thought to be intended for use in mobile air-conditioning. As well as being an illegal import due to no quota the HFC-134a was contained in prohibited disposable cylinders. Customs alerted ILT to the import.
The Environment Council (5 March 2019) in its provisional meeting report listed in other topics on the agenda ‘Better enforcement of the EU phase-down for hydrofluorocarbons’ – Information from the Commission. This information note reported that ‘Since 2015, Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 requires a gradual reduction on the placing on the EU market of hydrofluorocarbons, the so-called EU HFC phase-down. This mechanism has been very successful; the climate impact of the HFCs sold on the Union market has already been reduced by almost half and, according to industry sources, the shift to more-climate friendly alternatives in various kinds of equipment has been more accelerated than expected.’

With regard to illegal trade, the information note stated that the Commission is taking all possible measures in order to ensure the correct implementation of the Regulation. In particular, the Commission requests Member States to investigate possible cases of illegal trade and impose penalties where needed, as required under the Regulation. To identify possible offenders, the Commission also asked Member States for their assistance in comparing customs’ surveillance data with data reported under the Regulation. Furthermore, the Commission is providing guidance on how customs can play a role in the enforcement of the Regulation and is facilitating the sharing of best practices across the Union. The Commission is also creating an IT application to be made available to Member States custom authorities by 2020 giving possible automatic alerts on potential illegal trade cases. While the EU acquis does not specifically require custom authorities to carry out market surveillance tasks with regards to the placing on the market of HFCs, the Commission considers that the illegal import of HFCs can only be efficiently tackled if custom authorities are involved.

For further information see

For progress on using lower GWP refrigerants see EFCTC Newsletter No164 February 2019, news item ‘Average GWP continues to fall and EU HFC emissions decrease’

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