Business Alert - EU Industry News

Hong Kong spare parts sellers may profit from heavy metal restriction exemptions under end-of-life vehicles law    < 2011-05-21 >

On 31 March 2011, the Official Journal of the EU published Commission Directive 2011/37/EU, which will permit Hong Kong and Chinese mainland traders of spare parts for certain types of car to use heavy metals such as lead and cadmium in them, despite the general prohibition under Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles. Hong Kong’s spare part sellers exporting to the EU will already know that the end-of-life vehicles Directive prohibits the use of lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chro

List of exemptions amended under end-of-life vehicle Directive, providing opportunities for car parts suppliers    < 2013-05-03 >

On 22 May 2013, the Official Journal published Commission Directive 2013/28/EU, amending the Directive on End-of-Life Vehicles (Directive 2000/53/EC – the ELV Directive). In effect, new Directive 2013/28/EU amends the applications that, although they use one or more heavy metals that are prohibited for use in vehicles or spare parts, are exempted under the End-of-Life vehicles Directive. Hong Kong’s manufacturers of spare parts and materials destined for vehicles in the EU Member States will a

France applies eco-contribution mechanism for furniture    < 2013-05-24 >

Hong Kong’s business community should be alerted to an important legislative development concerning waste furniture in France. Pursuant to the French Decree of 6 January 2012, which implements the law of 12 July 2010 (i.e. the so called “Grenelle 2” framework environmental law), any company responsible for placing items of furniture on the French market from 1 May 2013, has the obligation to charge end-consumers an eco-contribution to cover the cost of the waste management scheme for furniture.

Rules regulating child resistance in lighters and ban on novelty lighters extended for one more year    < 2013-05-15 >

On 5 March 2013, the EU’s Official Journal published Decision 2013/113/EU of the European Commission, extending the validity of Decision 2006/502/EC which instituted a ban on the sale of cigarette lighters that are not child resistant, and also on novelty lighters. The Decision (which dates from 2006) will therefore continue to apply for a further year, that being, until 11 May 2014. Hong Kong’s marketers of lighters that fall within this Decision are by now likely well aware of its legal rami

EU’s timber law kicks in, regulating wood and products made from wood    < 2013-05-15 >

On 3 March 2013, EU Regulation 995/2010 laying down obligations for operators who place timber and timber products on the EU market entered into effect. Hong Kong and mainland Chinese traders of furniture and other items made from wood will likely recall that this recently introduced important piece of legislation effectively prohibits “the placing on the market of illegally harvested timber or timber products derived from such timber” (see: Business Alert–EU, Issue 24/2010). More specifically

Danish ban on phthalates in household articles delayed until 1 December 2015; new phthalates strategy considers need for further restrictions    < 2013-09-13 >

It will come as a welcome surprise to Hong Kong traders of a wide variety of consumer and commonly traded household goods that the Danish Government has decided to delay the application of its national phthalate restrictions. Earlier this summer, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) announced that the national ban on the use of four phthalates in household articles, which was formally adopted on 30 November 2012, will only become applicable in December 2015, and not in December 201

Product groups prioritised in new Ecodesign Working Plan 2012-2014    < 2013-05-15 >

On 7 December 2012, the European Commission finally published its much overdue Ecodesign Working Plan 2012-2014, which will guide the Commission’s work in the coming years. The release of the final Working Plan was drastically delayed beyond the legal deadline of 21 October 2011, imposed by the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC). Hong Kong’s manufacturing community should be alerted to the twelve important product groups which have been listed for the due adoption of implementing measures in up

Chinese kitchenware and tableware face likelihood of definitive anti-dumping duties; other trade developments    < 2013-05-28 >

Hong Kong and mainland Chinese traders should be alerted to the European Commission’s plans to propose definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of ceramic tableware and kitchenware originating in the Chinese mainland. Traders will recall that provisional measures, ranging from 17.6% to 31.2% for companies that cooperated in the investigation and a residual rate of 58.8% for all other companies, were already imposed by means of Regulation 1072/2012 published on 15 November 2012 in the EU’s Offi

Frequently Asked Questions published, to assist economic operators on issue of articles treated with biocidal products    < 2013-11-03 >

In September 2013, a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) document on treated articles was published by the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission. The purpose of these FAQs is to provide guidance on Regulation 528/2012 (the Biocides Regulation), and more specifically, on the interpretation of provisions concerning articles that are treated with biocides to, for example, prevent mould or fungus, or repel insects. The FAQs, although not legally binding on the Member St

EU adopts Decision on safety requirements for chairs intended for children    < 2013-05-28 >

On 7 March 2013, the European Commission published Decision 2013/121/EU on safety requirements to be met by European standards for certain seats for children. This information is likely be of interest to Hong Kong and Chinese mainland businesses as mainland China is a leading producer of items of furniture, including for children. Directive 2001/95/EC is the broad-based legislative framework which currently governs EU-wide general product safety. The purpose of European standards, adopted purs

Member States vote to introduce “soft labelling” option for electric heaters instead of energy label    < 2013-12-03 >

On 10 October 2013, the European Commission yielded to heavy lobbying from the electric heating industry, choosing a “soft labelling” option instead of the more onerous harmonised energy label. The Commission decided that only an alternative sticker with a rather mild text should appear on electric heaters. This is considered by critics to be an overly business-friendly decision that could result in misleading consumers about the costs and the energy performance level of electric heaters. Hong

EU hails signing of global treaty restricting mercury, with several EU restrictions on mercury already in place    < 2013-12-20 >

It was reported on 10 October 2013 that the EU and more than one hundred countries have signed the Minamata Convention on mercury. This Convention, which is said to be the first new multilateral environmental agreement to be signed for more than ten years, aims at reducing the use of mercury. Hong Kong traders may already be aware that the EU’s regulation of mercury is considered to be one of the most stringent in the world. The EU mercury strategy, launched in 2005, has resulted in restrictio

EU introduces full cadmium and mercury ban in EU batteries law    < 2013-12-20 >

On 10 December 2013, the Official Journal published Directive 2013/56/EU of 20 November 2013 amending Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators. The amendments concern, among other matters, the placing on the market of portable batteries and accumulators containing cadmium intended for use in cordless power tools, and of button cells with low mercury content. Hong Kong traders may recall that the framework batteries Directive 2006/66/EC bans, among

Multitude of RoHS exemptions published    < 2014-01-30 >

On 9 January 2014, the Official Journal of the EU published a large number of directives – sixteen in all – amending Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS). Hong Kong’s electronics manufacturers selling to EU customers will recall that the RoHS Directive bans electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) that contains certain hazardous substances in concentrations exceeding very low maximum thresholds. However, economic operato

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