Manufacturers of refrigerators and air conditioners have warned of possible shortages and price increases due to new refrigerant import regulations.
Refrigerators, freezers, HVAC equipment and fire extinguishers are filled with complex chemicals that lower the temperature in appliances. Previously, freon was used for this, but it had a “side effect” – it heated the atmosphere, increased the greenhouse effect and destroyed the ozone layer. In 1987, during the battle to save the climate, most countries signed the Montreal Convention and gradually began to remove freon from their conveyors, switching to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). However, this did not save the planetary ecosystem – the chemical compound, although not as active as the chlorine and bromine contained in freon, acted on the ozone molecules, but also very well injected the greenhouse effect. The corresponding amendments were adopted to the convention, and Russia, having agreed with them, committed itself to reduce the consumption of HFC refrigerant by 5% from 2021, from 2025 – by 35%, from 2029 – by 70%, from 2036 th – by 85%.
These measures entailed restrictions on the import of refrigerants, and companies delivering “cold” and equipment with it to Russia must be licensed. Since April 2021, it has been issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the basis of the conclusion of Rosprirodnadzor. However, the Association of Trade Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Household and Computer Equipment assures that some of the HFC importers and manufacturers of refrigeration and HVAC equipment did not know about import quotas, and having applied for permits in July, they were refused. By this time, the limits on licenses had already been exhausted, and new quotas will appear only in 2022. The change in the rules during the course of the game caught the market participants by surprise, and they got nervous, because contracts for the supply of equipment were concluded before the introduction of licenses, and now equipment that contains refrigerants and components for its production will not be able to cross the border. In an attempt to avoid serious financial losses, the business asks the government to pay attention to the inadmissibility of imposing restrictions on the import of refrigerants and equipment that contains them, on the grounds that there are no legal acts for this.
However, there are documents to this effect. In March of this year, the Eurasian Economic Commission added refrigerants to the list of goods licensed for import, but the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Natural Resources did not inform the business about when and under what conditions it is necessary to obtain licenses for these quotas.
Be that as it may, the participants of the “cold market” are seriously alarmed. They have already warned that because of the new rules there will be fewer air conditioners and refrigerators in stores, that is, they hinted at their shortage. What is happening today can also lead to a rise in price by at least 5% of refrigeration and climate control equipment and services related to its production, supply and maintenance.
According to experts, next year importers will import goods and refrigerants stuck at the border into Russia in any case, and it is unlikely that there will be a shortage during this time. But what is certain – the business will not forget to reflect the losses incurred this year in the price tags, so the consumer will have to pay for everything. As always.