The refrigerant manufacturers’ group, the EFCTC, has called for changes to European transit procedures in order to tackle the persistent problem of illegal HFC imports.
The EFCTC believes that the T1 transit procedure, which is designed to facilitate the transportation of non-EU goods to its final destination, is being misused and exploited to enable illegal trade in HFCs in the EU.
The use of the T1 transit process is designed to facilitate the transportation of non-EU goods to its final destination, either in the EU or a non-EU member state. Using the customs transit procedure allows for the temporary suspension of duties, taxes and commercial policy measures that are applicable at import. This allows customs clearance formalities to take place at the point destination rather than at the point of entry into the customs territory.
The group claims that loopholes in this procedure have contributed to a total of 34MtCO2e – or approximately 15,000 tonnes of HFCs – being imported illegally from 2018 to 2019. This is based on recent EFCTC investigations showing a disparity between Chinese exports of HFCs to the EU and declared EU imports, an analysis and tracing of T1 Transit shipments and seizures of products in EU ports.
It also points to analysis by the EU anti-fraud unit, OLAF, which, it says, indicates considerable quantities of HFCs entering the EU under T1 Transit particularly in border countries such as Croatia and Romania.
The EFCTC recommends an amendment to the F-gas regulation that would make it mandatory for consignees of T1 to register in the F-gas Portal (HFC Registry) or in a separate registry set up especially for F-gases not cleared for free circulation, thus receiving a profile ID. This profile ID would then be included on the import documents so that customs can check the consignees’ company details.
It also seeks a change to the regulations that would see a re-designation of the “responsible party” from the person who lodges the customs declaration to the consignee as the mandatory holder of the T1-procedure.
Other recommendations include formally designating a select number of appropriately-equipped ports for the release of F-gases and the mandatory inclusion of the six-digit commodity code in the TAD documents.