Committee Background


Refrigerant Imports Committee Mission Statement

The goal of the Refrigerant Imports Committee is to educate relevant U.S. Departments and Agencies of the challenges and impacts of illegal HFC Trade, facilitate regular correspondence between U.S. and international government officials and experienced refrigerant industry professionals to better identify perpetrators and curtail the uncontained growth of the global illegal HFC trade, and build global support for effective tracking, monitoring, and enforcement of HFC trade.

2018 customs data suggests that as much as 16.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) of bulk HFCs were illegally placed on the market in 2018 (EIA). Imports of illegal HFC’s into the EU28 from China show excess beyond quota levels. Current estimates reveal that ~20-30 percent of HFCs sold in EU originate from an illegal source, and up to 60 percent from EU border countries.

History of the Refrigerant Imports Committee

The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy’s Refrigerant Imports Committee was first constituted in 2000 to combat an unprecedented spike in illegal imports of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) at the time. Under the Montreal Protocol, which is often categorized as the most successfully implemented international agreement in history, the United States and other developed nations agreed to phase out CFC production and ban imports. Unfortunately, an international attempt to eliminate the use of CFC precipitated a significant black market of counterfeit refrigerant chemicals.

By 2003, an estimated 20,000-30,000 metric tons of illicit CFC were smuggled into the global market annually, and half of which funneled into the United States. In response, the Refrigerants Imports Committee assisted the United States government in implementing “Operation Cool Breeze.” This was a joint operation implemented in 2003 which incorporating The Environmental Protection Agency, The Internal Revenue Service, The Department of Justice, and the Department of Commerce. By its conclusion, Operation Cool Breeze had generated over 500 tons in confiscated CFC’s, which accounted for over $40 million of the global quota.

Summary of operation cool breeze achievements and statistics.

1996 EPA Association Award Recipient – Refrigerant Imports Committee