This page provides information on
- Import and export licensing requirements
- Quota allocation for bulk HFC importers and producers
- Quota authorisation for importers of HFC-precharged equipment
- Reporting obligations on fluorinated gases.
Import and export licensing requirements
This is mandatory for companies to receive a quota, for importers of equipment containing HFCs, and for all entities supplying or receiving exempted gases such as those hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) imported for destruction, for use as feedstock, directly exported in bulk, as well as for use in military equipment, in semiconductor manufacture or for metered dose inhalers (MDIs).
All companies that must report on F-gas-related activities according to Art. 19 of the F-gas Regulation should similarly register in the F-gas Portal & HFC Licensing System in order to enable access to the reporting forms.
As regards activities related to imports and exports of fluorinated gases and imports of equipment pre-charged with HFCs, this registration constitutes an import or export license. Note that for imports and exports of HFCs in bulk, such a license is also required under the Montreal Protocol for substances that deplete the ozone layer.
It is important to note that having such a license is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for being allowed to import into and export from the EU. Other conditions also apply, notably when imported goods are being placed on the EU market. These conditions include labelling requirements (Art. 12 of the F-gas Regulation) and requirements related to the HFC quota system (Art. 14 and 15 of the F-gas Regulation).
Quota allocation and quota authorisation
Allocation of quota: Quotas are needed for the import and production of bulk HFCs.
Quotas are allocated based on a company-specific reference value (determined every 3 years; see below) and/or on an annual declaration of (additional) anticipated needs from a quota reserve. Companies wishing to apply for import and production of bulk HFCs from this reserve have to make a declaration for the subsequent year in the F-gas Portal & HFC Licensing System. The latest dates of the declaration period are published in the Official Journal early each year. A quick guide illustrating the steps for submitting a quota declaration is available.
Quota can only be used for the calendar year that it is issued, i.e. only for imports/production in the period between 1 January to 31 December of that year.
Quotas are not allocated to manufacturers and importers of gases contained in products and equipment. The latter undertakings must assure compliance with the quota system in other ways, through a declaration of conformity and, for importers, the use of authorisations ( guidance document ) unless they are below an annual threshold of 100t CO2 equivalent.
Authorisation of quota: Imports of all HFC precharged refrigeration, air-conditioning and heatpump equipment require the obtaining of a quota authorisation, unless an annual threshold of 100t CO2 equivalent is not exceeded or the HFC was previously placed on the market in the EU.
Authorisations must be agreed between a quota holder and an importer of precharged equipment AND must be entered online in the F-gas Portal & HFC Licensing System to be valid. Authorisations, once issued in the system, cannot be cancelled. The system also allows for delegating authorisations one more time (only), e.g. by an equipment manufacturer, in order to help their importers comply with their obligations. Please see details in our guidance for equipment importers: Guidance document.
Many quota holders are listed in the Implementing Decision. This allows importers of equipment containing HFCs to contact these companies and obtain the quota authorisations required to place such equipment on the EU market. Through the ‘Matchmaking’ tool in the F-gas Portal & HFC Licensing System registered companies can also get in touch with companies holding quota – and vice versa quota holders can contact companies seeking e.g. quota authorisations.
Background: The F-gas Regulation includes a phase-down of HFCs, under which the placing on the EU market of such gases by each undertaking is subject to quantitative limits. Since 1 January 2015 a quota is required for producers and importers placing at least 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of HFCs in bulk on the market in a calendar year. Since 2017 also HFC pre-charged in refrigeration, air-conditioning and heatpump equipment must be covered under the quota system.
The Commission is currently reviewing the ‘F-gas Regulation’.
Quota Allocation Process
The European Commission allocates quotas, in accordance with the F-gas Regulation 517/2014 (Art. 16, Annexes V, VI), in tonnes CO2 equivalent to importers and producers of bulk gases.
In the quota allocation process, a distinction is made between two types of companies:
(1) Companies with a reference value
Companies are assigned a reference value if they placed (and reported to the Commission – see below) annually at least 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of HFCs in bulk on the EU market from 1 January 2015. The Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/1604 of 23/10/2020 lists the names of the companies concerned.
Companies are allocated a yearly quota on the basis of their reference value as well as by annually declaring additional anticipated quantities in accordance with Regulation 517/2014 (Article 16(3), (4), (5), Annexes V, VI).
The quota is determined as 89% of the reference value multiplied by the phase-down factor (i.e. 45% for 2021-2023). For the allocation of quotas from the reserve, companies with a reference value declaring additional anticipated quantities will be treated in the same way as companies newly entering the market.
(2) Companies without reference value
Quotas may be allocated to these entities on the basis of a pro rata distribution taking into account the declared needs (Regulation (EU) 517/2014, Annex VI). Declaration of need and allocation of quota is repeated on a yearly basis. The dates of the declaration are published in the Official Journal early each year.
The tool for reporting on F-gas-related activities is accessible via the F-gas Portal & HFC Licensing System. It usually opens early February to allow timely reporting before the legal deadline of 31 March each year.
Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 517/2014 requires that production, import, including gases in equipment, export of bulk gases, feedstock use and destruction of the substances listed in Annexes I or II in the Regulation are reported annually before 31 March, for the previous calendar year. The Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2017/1375 determines the format and means for submitting the report.
Who has to report?
- Producers, importers or exporters that produced, imported or exported one metric tonne or 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent or more fluorinated greenhouse gases and gases listed in Annex II, including companies (producers or importers) to which quotas have been transferred.
- Undertakings that destroyed one metric tonne or 1 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent or more of fluorinated greenhouse gases and gases listed in Annex II.
- Undertakings that used 1 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of fluorinated greenhouse gases as feedstock.
- Undertakings that placed 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of fluorinated gases or gases listed in Annex II contained in products or equipment on the market (but no obligation to report if these gases were bought on the EU market or imported as bulk ("released for free circulation") previous to being put in the equipment).
- Undertakings that placed on the market precharged refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment where hydrofluorocarbons contained in this equipment have not previously been placed on the Union market.
What needs to be reported?
The reporting requirements depend on the role of the reporting company in the market. A reporting tool in line with the F-gas regulation specifies all the required information that is relevant for the specific activities.
How to submit the reports?
Every year, companies need to submit their report for the previous year before 31 March. The entrance to the reporting tool, which is handled by the European Environment Agency (EEA), is achieved via the F-gas Portal & HFC Licensing System through the orange "Reporting" button in the top right corner.
More information on the reporting obligations and tool are available.
Verification of the reported data
Three different types of verification documents may be required:
- Verification of the full report regarding bulk gases (applies to HFC bulk producers and importers):
According to Article 19 (6) of the Regulation, the full report must be verified when the amount of HFCs placed on the market exceeds 10 000t CO2 equivalent. The legal deadline for the verification document to be available is 30 June while the deadline for reporting is 31 March each year. Uploading the verification document to the reporting tool is strongly encouraged as this would address the requirement of making the verification report available on request.
- Verification of quota-exempted HFCs supplies to exporters (may apply to HFC producers and importers):
According to Annex V and Art. 19 (6) of the Regulation, any transactions reported in Sheet II, Reporting Section 5C_exempted, for the HFC quota exemption of Art. 15(2c), supply to exporter of bulk HFCs, need to be verified. The legal deadline for the verification document to be available is 30 June while the deadline for reporting is 31 March each year. Uploading the verification document to the reporting tool is strongly encouraged as this would address the requirement of making the verification report available on request.
- Verification of imports of precharged equipment:
Importers of equipment containing 100 t CO2 equivalent or more of HFCs per year need to submit verification documents through the reporting tool by 31 March of the calendar year after the placing on the market (Article 3(2) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/879).
Companies shall keep the verification report and documentation for at least five years.
The verification has to be carried out by an independent auditor. The auditor shall be either:
- accredited pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (1); or
- accredited to verify financial statements in accordance with the legislation of the Member State concerned.
For further information please consult the following documents:
Companies that exceed their quota are allocated a reduced quota in the allocation period(s) following detection. A penalty of 200% of the exceedance amount is applied. Furthermore, the responsible Member State will impose further penalties in cases of infringements of the Regulation according to national law.