BELGIUM: The European Commission has admitted there is clear evidence of illegal HFC imports but has questioned the extent of the problem as reported by stakeholders.

In a newreporton the functioning of the EU-wide quota system for HFC under the European F-gas regulation (517/2014), the Commission insists that it is taking the claims seriously with the involvement of OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office, and increasing customs seizures.

The Commission report recognises that the illegal trade was created by the high EU prices seen in 2017 and early 2018 and admits that their availability may also have had an effect on recent price falls.

However, the Commission questions the extent of the illegal activity as claimed by industry and environmental groups. Last year, the Environmental Investigation Agency put the level of illegal activity at 16% of the legal quota. The EFCTC, the refrigerant producers group, went further, exposing discrepancies between Chinese export stats and EU import data, and estimating that the illegal imports could amount to as much as a third of the legal quota.

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