1. Taiwan EPA Finalized Annual Quota Allocation Process of HCFCs for 2011

    The Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Yuan(EPA) finalized the 2011 HCFCs quota allocation process for manufacturers and suppliers on April 28, 2011.


    The 2011 national allocation for HCFCs is set at 159,539 ODP kilograms, totaling 25% of the consumption baseline 638,156 ODP kilograms, same as the limit specified in the Montreal Protocol. In principle, the allocation of HCFCs has been based on declarations of manufacturers, which in turn are based on their previous year's usage. Under the principle of the national baseline consumption not exceeding the upper limit, the allocation will be in priority assigned to industrial users, with the remainder allocated to suppliers based on market share.


    The final allocations in 2011 were 94,985.76 ODP kg allocated to 55 industrial users and 64,553.24 ODP kg to 10 distributing suppliers. Compared to that of 2010, an increase of 1,084.95 ODP kg was additionally allocated to industrial users, with the smaller amounts for distributing suppliers. In fact, the amount used by industrial users exceeded the allocation of the 2nd half of the previous year. This is presumably due to the economic recovery coupled with the HCFCs controlling measure imposed on the industrial users. It is calculated that the allocation volume was 6,727 ODP kg more than the preliminary estimated volume. There were three explicit differences between the finalization and the preliminary estimations: (1) the allocation for the 2nd half of 2011 had been based on the individual actual usage rather than the allocation of the previous year; (2) The 5% allocation, 7,977 ODP kg, originally retained by the Government was released to industrial users; and (3) An additional allocation totaling 176.36 ODP kg was allowed for industrial users due to recovery of refrigerants.


    Since HCFCs have already been significantly reduced, to avoid affecting businesses before alternative technologies become available, and to avoid businesses deliberately emitting refrigerants instead of recovering them, the EPA has implementing a measure that limits the allocation of HCFCs for the purpose of maintaining fishing vessels with a quota no more than that of the previous year starting in 2011. As well, from 2012 onwards, there shall be no increase on the allocation for all maintenance purposes, in order to control the use in this respect.


    In compliance with the Montreal Protocol, the EPA has promulgated the "HCFCs Consumption Management Regulations", with a controlling timetable for gradual phasing out for each adaptation. For example, the prohibition of HCFC-141b on low-temperature rigid insulation PU foaming, cleansing uses for satellite microwave communication products and HCFCs in aerosol propellants were in effect starting on January 1, 2010. Also, the ban of HCFC-22 refrigerants in window mounted air conditioners (including the separation type) below 7.1 kW took effect on January 1, 2011. Subsequently, only HCFC-22 and very few other mixtures can be imported from 2011 onwards.


  2. Taiwan EPA Finalized Quota Allocations for Methyl Bromide in QPS Applications for the Second-Half of 2011

    Based on Articles 5 and 10 in the "Methyl Bromide Management Regulations" published by the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan(EPA) in 2003, importers and users should apply to the central competent authority for the importation and use permits by the end of February each year, through claiming the estimated amount needed for the following second-half of the calendar year.


    In accordance with the regulations, the EPA convened with professionals to consult on the Methyl Bromide quota allocations on May 11, 2011 with the applicants' documents. The principles for quota allocation were:


     

    1. The quota allocation for the second-half of 2011 is based on the verified amount as used in the same period in 2010. The final quota will be allocated through reviewing application documents. If the quota applied for is lower than the amount of the previous year, then the approved quota will be equal to the amount requested on the application form.
    2. If the fumigation certificates or the application documents were either inconsistent or incomplete, an additional 10% quota allocation reduction will be imposed on the final allocation above.

During the meeting, not only the sale and purchase documents from importers and users were reviewed, but the fumigation certificates, statistics on amounts of Methyl Bromide used in QPS applications and stock status provided by users were also discreetly reviewed and verified. Based on the result of the meeting, the EPA subsequently finalized and approved to allocate 29,050 kg of 100% w/t and 12,437.8 kg of 98% w/t Methyl Bromide for applications in the second-half of 2011. Compared to that of 2010, an increase of 10 metric tons was allocated because 6,350 kg from the first half year's quota of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) had not been imported, and is therefore allocated to be imported by BAPHIQ this year. In total, 61 metric tons was allocated for 2011, an increased allocation over 2010 by 7 metric tons, but close to the 1999 amount, with differences due to economic fluctuations.


Meanwhile, the Taiwan EPA appealed to all importers and users to declare their data for importation, sales and actual use on schedule, complying with the Methyl Bromide management regulations for QPS. The users should record the actual amounts used monthly by each fumigation category in monthly log-books. It is also noted that users should avoid unnecessary methyl bromide fumigation if feasible alternatives are available. Pest control companies should also remind their clients to avoid unnecessary methyl bromide fumigation conditions listed in the commercial contract with their overseas trading partners, in order to benefit the global environment and ozone layer.


  • Methyl Bromide Reduction Management and Alternatives Conference

    Methyl bromide (CH3Br, MB), a colorless, odorless toxic gas, with no residue, and easy to handle, was used as a fire extinguishing agent, fumigant, insecticide and rodenticide on ships in the early 1900s. But it was eventually placed on the list of controlled chemicals due to its ozone layer depleting properties. The Montreal Protocol required that the consumption (ie., import plus production minus export)of methyl bromide should be reduced to zero by 2005, with exclusions for quarantine and pre-shipment(QPS) uses. In recent years, with growing global use of methyl bromide for QPS, to protect the ozone layer, many countries have announced a total ban on use of methyl bromide except for emergency purposes. These countries include Denmark and Sweden effective in 1998, Finland in 1999, and the European Union starting March 18, 2010.


    The Taiwan Government has placed a ban on methyl bromide since 2005, with exceptions for QPS uses. In recent years about 60 metric tons were imported annually. Facing a global ban on methyl bromide in QPS, many countries are currently actively researching and developing alternative technologies. To avoid exportation hindrances for industry and to response early to the situation and the trend forward a strict ban in the international community based on the Montreal Protocol, the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan(EPA), invited Ms. Marta Pizano, co-chair of the TEAP (Technical and Economic Assessment Panel) and Dr. Melanie Miller, Principal Consultant for methyl bromide to the European Union, to Taiwan for the "Methyl Bromide Reduction Management and Alternatives Conference" on June 8. These experts shared their knowledge of management strategies from the EU and other regions with conference attendees, mostly from industry and governmental authorities. Through this occasion they also made detailed briefings on contemporary information on the trend forwards a ban of methyl bromide and alternatives, good references for developing policy and strategy in response to the potential global total ban on methyl bromide. The main points from this conference are summarized as follows:

     

    1. To effectively control the use of methyl bromide, many countries started reviewing the use of methyl bromide fumigation, including re-evaluation and recognition of the contagious pests, so that methyl bromide is only used when no alternatives are available, and eventually leading to a full stoppage of use. For example, the exemption for fumigation processes on floral exports to Japan from Colombia due to no results shown by the pre-inspection for contagious pests.
       
    2. Frequently customs inspection officials insist on certification of methyl bromide fumigation instead of alternative technologies, such as heat treatment or adopting plastic pallets, in international trading processes. Experts suggest implementing through bilateral negotiations, for instance, several alternative technologies for fresh fruits and vegetables, such as freezing treatment, steam heat treatment and chemicals, etc., but it is still more complex than alternatives to quarantine due to the more perishable characteristics of fresh fruits and vegetables. For example, with systematic pest control work preceding packing of fresh fruits and vegetables, the New Zealand government negotiates quarantine standards with importing countries. The self-management and bilateral negotiations will reduce the use of methyl bromide.
       
    3. International methyl bromide mixture standards include proportions of 100%, 98/2, 67/33 or 50/50 on the market. The 100% is usually used for QPS, while others commonly for non-QPS. The industry in Taiwan usually adopts the 98/2, with 2% offensive odor chloropicrin added to warn of leaks for the safety of workers and operators. In the global community, most MB bas been used for soil fumigation processes. The package for the 98/2 have been in 1.5 lbs small bottles, easily opened as well as disposed, causing greater use for non-essential fumigation by industry. Such packaging is being phased out in EU regulations. Therefore, it may also be necessary to consider phasing out the use of small packages of methyl bromide and in the future developing a similar regulation to control methyl bromide in Taiwan.
       
    4. To assess the necessity for and viability of alternatives to methyl bromide usage, many countries have started to investigate alternative technologies. The industry and distributors in Taiwan are encouraged to provide solid reports on their usage as references for governments implementing alternative technology testing and the development of control strategies.
       
    5. To maintain the health and safety of users of methyl bromide, many countries have requested training programs and certification of operators before taking on work. Warding off the possible health damage to workers while opening the containers has been under review, focusing on the issue and discussion on the ratio of fumigant remnants. Therefore, further multi-ministerial consultations on the regulation of methyl bromide control will be needed, providing reference to industry and distributors.

    Currently in Taiwan, the ozone-depleting substances (ODS) allowed to be imported are limited to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and methyl bromide only. Although the import quantity of methyl bromide for QPS is lower than that of HCFCs, with a further 15% cut on HCFCs imports after 2015, the proportion of methyl bromide imported for QPS will account for half of the ODS, absent a further reduction of methyl bromide. This is an important issue for achieving the target of full protection of the ozone layer, therefore, joint efforts will be needed among the government, industry and distributors deciding policy and strategy for developing alternative technologies and reducing the use of methyl bromide, to achieve the early phase out of methyl bromide.


 

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Directed by ︰epa Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C. ( Taiwan )
Edited by ︰itri Industrial Technology Research Institute