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Informal-Prior  UNEP ON THE GROUND

Informal Prior Informed Consent consultations prevented illegal trade in

ozone-depleting substances

OzonAction set-up the informal Prior Informed Consent mechanism back in 2006, which has evolved into a global tool to prevent unwanted/illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances (ODS) with more than 100 active informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) member countries. It is a voluntary and informal mechanism of information exchange on intended trade between trade partners prior to issuing mandatory import/export licenses. Usually, iPIC consultations are done by email or through the secured iPIC online system and responded within a few days.

In 2013, of the reported 111 iPIC consultations, over 53% resulted in rejections or cancellations of the license requests and this prevented unwanted trade in more than 273 tons of ODS. As part of the Ozone Protection Award of the Regional Network for Europe and Central Asia (September 2012 and April 2014), the award winners reported 67 iPIC consultations that had prevented unwanted / illegal shipments of more than 846 tons of ODS / mixtures.

The most recent case involved fake import licenses. On 5 September, China's National Management Office of ODS Import and Export consulted the European Commission concerning a planned export of 80 tons of R22 to the European Union. Despite the fact that the EU company is registered as an importer/exporter of HCFCs in the licensing system of the European Union, the verification of the two import licenses provided to the Chinese authorities revealed that only one of them was genuine. The European Commission confirmed that they had issued one of the two licenses for the import of 20 tons but not the second license for the import of 60 tons of R22. Apparently, the genuine license has been used to make up the fake license by replacing the last digit of the reference number of the genuine license as well as the quantities. The "5" has obviously been added by cutting and pasting and there is a shadow behind the "5" (see picture above). Consequently, China did not issue the export license.

Investigations have been initiated by both trade partners and an alert globally disseminated to Montreal Protocol focal points and licensing officers, through the networks of WCO’s Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs), the secured communication platform Environet as well as the media.

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