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EU proposes stronger restrictions on HCFCs.

TOKYO, July 11 Kyodo

The European Union (EU) has proposed stronger restrictions for developing countries on the production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), one of the alternatives to ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), government sources said Tuesday.

The proposal was made ahead of a U.N. conference for signatory states of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international pact to protect the ozone layer, slated for December in Burkina Faso, Africa.

HCFCs are used as coolants in such products as air conditioners as foaming agents in refrigerators, in place of CFCs, whose production and consumption have already been banned in developed countries since 1995.

Developing countries, however, have just begun to curb production of CFCs, and new restrictions on HCFC production may invite severe opposition from those countries at the international convention.

The current restrictions place upper limits on the annual production of HCFCs, based on the quantity of CFCs and HCFCs produced in the respective countries in 1989. They will go into effect in 2004 for industrialized countries and in 2016 for developing nations. The restriction also stipulates developing countries to ban all production of HCFCs in 2040.

The new restrictions proposed by the EU call on developing countries to start implementing cutbacks in 2007 instead of 2016, and to dramatically reduce HCFC production between 2014 and 2030.

The production of HCFCs is expected to increase in the near future in developing countries, given that they started restricting CFC production in June and are expected to completely abolish CFCs by 2010.

Japan has reservations about the proposal. An official in charge of issues concerning ozone layer protection at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said, "We think a cutback in the production of CFCs is the utmost priority for developing countries, and we would like to discuss whether the proposed regulation on HCFCs would impair their efforts to curb CFCs."
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jul 17, 2000
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