Acquiring or reselling HFC refrigerants imported illegally into the EU will be prohibited as the refrigerant producers’ group EFCTC embraces the German government decision. The decision by the Federal Cabinet to amend the German Chemical Act will require manufacturers and importers of HFCs to prove the legality of the imported goods and pass this information down through the supply chain.

The legislation, proposed in June last year, recognises that a major problem in combating the illegal trade is that the relevant provisions of the, EU F-gas regulation (517/2014) relate to the first placing on the market. Those liable are gas producers and importers, but not the downstream dealers and consumers. According to EU law, you do not have to prove that your goods were legally offered on the EU market.

In future, all players in the supply chain in Germany will have to document that the gases have been brought onto the European market at a quota set by the EU Commission. The government says that the new documentation requirements will make it easier for the respective enforcement authorities of the federal states to monitor compliance with EU- wide and supplementary national bans. Additionally, they give all actors in the supply chain a high degree of legal security when purchasing and selling products made from F-gases.

Felix Flohr, EFCTC spokesman, Daikin Chemical, said: “The change in the Chemical Act means that information on manufacturers and importers of HFCs as well as information on the legality of the imported product in the supply chain must be disclosed. This will give inspectors the right to investigate the origins of products held by companies. Illegal trade is seriously harming producers, distributors, contractors and end-users of HFCs as well as ultimately the climate and also funding criminal organisations.”

While there have been notable successes in combatting the trade, Flohr warned that the problem persists: “2021 has marked a new phase-down step, as the F-gas regulation sets a reduction of the quota from 63% to 45% compared to the pre-2015 level. As a result, we expect an increase in illegal imports of HFCs this year.”

The Chemical Act is expected to pass in the German Bundestag and Bundesrat during, next weeks before the summer break.