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1.4 Trade regulations

Overview

The Czech Republic is a member of the World Trade Organization. All enterprises and individuals can register for trade freely in the country. Since its accession to the EU on 1 May 2004, the Czech Republic has adopted the EU’s common external trade policy and measures, and has become a member of the Single European Market, in which physical barriers of trade and traffic flows among EU member states have been removed. Now, goods that have cleared customs in any EU member state can circulate freely in the Czech Republic, and vice versa.

Import tariffs

As a member of the EU, the Czech Republic follows the EU’s common external trade policy and measures. As a result, Czech’s import tariffs have aligned with EU tariff rates. Besides, a value-added tax (VAT) of 19% applies to most imports as well as domestic products, while a lower VAT of 9% is charged for certain food products and services.

General import tariff rates of the Czech Republic

HS code

Description

The EU MFN (%) as of 2010

01

Live animals

0-11.5

02

Meat and edible meat offal

0-15.4

03

Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates

0-23

04

Dairy produce; birds’ eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included

0-17.3

05

Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included

0-5.1

06

Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage

0-10.9

07

Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers

0-15.2

08

Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons

0-20.8

09

Coffee, tea, maté and spices

0-12.5

10

Cereals

0-12.8

11

Products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten

7.7-19.2

12

Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruits; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder

0-8.3

13

Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts

0-19.2

14

Vegetable plaiting materials; vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included

0

15

Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes

0-16

16

Preparations of meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates

0-26

17

Sugars and sugar confectionery

8-18.7

18

Cocoa and cocoa preparations

0-18.7

19

Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; bakers’ wares

7.6-24.2

20

Preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants

0-33.6

21

Miscellaneous edible preparations

0-17.3

22

Beverages, spirits and vinegar

0-32

23

Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal feed

0-12

24

Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes

10-74.9

25

Salt; sulphur; earths and stone; plastering materials, lime and cement

0-1.7

26

Ores, slag and ash

0

27

Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes

0-8

28

Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, of rare earth metals, of radioactive elements or of isotopes

0-5.5

29

Organic chemicals

0-6.5

30

Pharmaceutical products

0-6.5

31

Fertilisers

0-6.5

32

Tanning or dyeing extracts; tannins and their derivatives; dyes, pigments and other colouring matter; paints and varnishes; putty and other mastics; inks

0-6.5

33

Essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations

0-17.3

34

Soap, organic surface-active agents, washing preparations, lubricating preparations, artificial waxes, prepared waxes, polishing or scouring preparations, candles and similar articles, modelling pastes, ‘dental waxes’ and dental preparations with a basis of plaster

0-6.5

35

Albuminoidal substances; modified starches; glues; enzymes

0-9

36

Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations

5.7-6.5

37

Photographic or cinematographic goods

0-6.5

38

Miscellaneous chemical products

0-6.5

39

Plastics and articles thereof

0-6.5

40

Rubber and articles thereof

0-6.5

41

Raw hides and skins (other than furskins) and leather

0-6.5

42

Articles of leather; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silkworm gut)

1.7-9.7

43

Furskins and artificial fur; manufactures thereof

0-3.7

44

Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal

0-10

45

Cork and articles of cork

0-4.7

46

Manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basketware and wickerwork

0-4.7

47

Pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard

0

48

Paper and paperboard; articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard

0

49

Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry; manuscripts, typescripts and plans

0

50

Silk

0-7.5

51

Wool, fine or coarse animal hair; horsehair yarn and woven fabric

0-8

52

Cotton

0-8

53

Other vegetable textile fibres; paper yarn and woven fabrics of paper yarn

0-8

54

Man-made filaments; strip and the like of man-made textile materials

3.8-8

55

Man-made staple fibres

4-8

56

Wadding, felt and nonwovens; special yarns, twine, cordage, ropes and cables and articles thereof

3.8-12

57

Carpets and other textile floor coverings

3-8

58

Special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace, tapestries; trimmings; embroidery

5-8

59

Impregnated, coated, covered or laminated textile fabrics; textile articles of a kind suitable for industrial use

4-8

60

Knitted or crocheted fabrics

6.5-8

61

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted

8-12

62

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted

6.3-12

63

Other made up textile articles; sets; worn clothing and worn textile articles; rags

0-12

64

Footwear, gaiters and the like; parts of such articles

3-17

65

Headgear and parts thereof

0-5.7

66

Umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seatsticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof

2.7-5.2

67

Prepared feathers and down and articles made of feathers or of down; artificial flowers; articles of human hair

1.7-4.7

68

Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials

0-3.7

69

Ceramic products

0-12

70

Glass and glassware

0-11

71

Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coin

0-4

72

Iron and steel

0-7

73

Articles of iron or steel

0-3.7

74

Copper and articles thereof

0-5.2

75

Nickel and articles thereof

0-3.3

76

Aluminium and articles thereof

0-10

78

Lead and articles thereof

0-5

79

Zinc and articles thereof

0-5

80

Tin and articles thereof

0

81

Other base metals; cermets; articles thereof

0-9

82

Tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; parts thereof of base metal

1.7-8.5

83

Miscellaneous articles of base metal

0-3.7

84

Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof

0-9.7

85

Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles

0-14

86

Railway or tramway locomotives, rolling-stock and parts thereof; railway or tramway track fixtures and fittings and parts thereof; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) traffic signalling equipment of all kinds

0-3.7

87

Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof

0-22

88

Aircraft, spacecraft, and parts thereof

1.7-7.7

89

Ships, boats and floating structures

0-2.7

90

Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; parts and accessories thereof

0-6.7

91

Clocks and watches and parts thereof

2.7-6

92

Instruments; parts and accessories of such articles

1.7-4

93

Arms and ammunition; parts and accessories thereof

0-3.2

94

Furniture; bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions and similar stuffed furnishings; lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated sign illuminated nameplates and the like; prefabricated buildings

0-5.7

95

Toys, games and sports requisites; parts and accessories thereof

0-4.7

96

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

0-7.7

97

Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques

0

Source: Commission Regulation (EC) No 948/2009 of 30 September 2009, Official Journal of the European Union L287, 31 October 2009

Non-tariff import restrictions

Quantitative barriers

Hong Kong’s textiles and clothing exports to the EU were previously subject to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC), under which quantitative restrictions on textiles and clothing were eliminated completely on 1 January 2005. Likewise, the previous quotas imposed by the EU on textiles and clothing products originating from the Chinese mainland were removed on 1 January 2005. However, as a result of the EU-China agreement reached in June 2005, the EU imposed safeguard quotas on 10 categories of Chinese textiles products for the period of 2005-2007. Upon the expiry of the textile safeguard quotas by the end of 2007, a joint system with China was established to monitor EU imports of Chinese textiles and apparel for one year, covering eight out of the 10 previously restricted categories. Starting 1 January 2009, textile and clothing products originating in China no longer require any import licence or surveillance document before entering the EU.

As regards non-textile manufacturing products, previously the EU also imposed Union-wide quotas on three categories of non-textiles products originating from the Chinese mainland, including certain footwear, porcelain and ceramic tableware/kitchenware. But these quotas were liberalised on 1 January 2005.

Trade remedies

Anti-dumping measures

The EU has initiated anti-dumping (AD) proceedings against certain mainland-origin products. Currently, there are a number of mainland-origin items subject to the EU’s anti-dumping measures, including bicycle parts and certain leather footwear (definitive duty at 16.5%), which are among the affected products of interest to Hong Kong. As at end-June 2010, the EU did not apply any AD measures on imports from Hong Kong.

EU’s anti-dumping measures against Chinese products
(measures in force as at 30 June 2010)

Definitive duties (55 cases)

Date of imposition

Product

Rate of duty

  1.      20.8.2004

Polyethylene Terephthalate

€184 per tonne

(except for nine companies with individual duty rates ranging from €0 to €184 per tonne)

  2.     

1.10.2004

Glyphosate

29.9%

  3.     

13.11.2004

Okoumé Plywood

66.7%

(except for four companies with individual duty rates ranging from 6.5% to 23.5%)

  4.     

1.1.2005

Tungsten Carbide

33%

  5.     

18.3.2005

Polyester Staple Fibres

49.7%

(except for six companies with individual duty rates ranging from 4.9% to 26.3%)

  6.     

29.4.2005

Furfuraldehyde

€352 per tonne

  7.     

15.7.2005

Bicycles

48.5%

  8.     

15.7.2005

Certain Bicycle Parts

48.5%

  9.     

22.7.2005

Barium Carbonate

€56.4 per tonne

(except for two companies whose individual duty rates are €6.3 per tonne and €8.1 per tonne respectively)

 10.   

22.7.2005

Hand Pallet Trucks and Their Essential Parts

46.7%

(except for four companies with individual duty rates ranging from 7.6% to 39.9%)

 11.   

30.7.2005

Certain Castings

47.8%

(except for seventeen companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 37.9%)

 12.   

8.10.2005

Trichloroisocyanuric Acid

42.6%

(except for four companies with individual duty rates ranging from 7.3% to 40.5%)

 13.   

13.10.2005

Certain Magnesia Bricks

39.9%

(except for seven companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 18.6%)

 14.   

17.11.2005

Steel Stranded Ropes and Cables

60.4%

 15.   

20.11.2005

Certain Stainless Steel Fasteners and Parts

27.4%

(except for two companies whose individual duty rates are 11.4% and 12.2% respectively)

 16.   

9.12.2005

Granular Polytetrafluoroethylene

55.5%

 17.   

28.1.2006

Tartaric Acid

34.9%

(except for three companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 10.1%)

 18.   

13.5.2006

Magnesia (Deadburned)

  1. The difference between the minimum import price of €120 per tonne and the net, free-at-Union-frontier price before duty in all cases where the latter is less than the minimum import price, and established on the basis of an invoice issued by an exporter located in the Mainland of China directly to an unrelated party in the Union;
  2. Zero, if the net, free-at-Union-frontier price before duty is equal to or higher than the minimum import price of €120 per tonne, and established on the basis of an invoice issued by an exporter located in the Mainland of China directly to an unrelated party in the Union; and
  3. Equal to an ad valorem duty of 63.3% in all other cases not falling under (i) and (ii) above.

 19.   

28.7.2006

Lever Arch Mechanisms

47.4%

(except for one company whose individual duty rate is 27.1%)

 20.   

25.8.2006

Silicon Carbide

52.6%

 21.   

15.9.2006

Chamois Leather

58.9%

 22.   

30.9.2006

Certain Plastic Sacks and Bags

28.8%

(except for a number of companies with individual duty rates ranging from 4.3% to 12.8%)

 23.   

14.3.2007

Certain Tungsten Electrodes

63.5%

(except for three companies with individual duty rates ranging from 17% to 41%)

 24.   

18.4.2007

Frozen Strawberries

  1. The difference between the minimum import price (which ranges from €496.8 to €598 per tonne, depending on the sugar content) and the net, free-at-Union-frontier price before duty, if the latter is lower than the former (except for one company whose individual duty rate is 0%);
  2. Where it is found that the net, free-at-Union-frontier price actually paid by the first independent customer in the Union is (a) below the net, free-at-Union-frontier price before duty as resulting from the customs declaration, and (b) is lower than the minimum import price, the fixed AD duty (which ranges from €169.9 to €204.5 per tonne, depending on the sugar content, except for one company) shall apply.

 25.   

22.6.2007

Certain Saddles

29.6%

(except for six companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 5.8%)

 26.   

22.9.2007

Certain Finished Polyester Filament Fabrics

74.8%

(except for 46 companies with individual duty rates ranging from 14.1% to 74.8%)

 27.   

12.10.2007

Peroxosulphates

71.8%

(except for two companies whose individual duty rates are 0% and 24.5% respectively)

 28.   

16.11.2007

Dicyandiamide

49.1%

 29.   

6.12.2007

Silico-manganese

8.2%

 30.   

13.12.2007

Gas-fuelled, Non-refillable Pocket Flint Lighters

€0.065 per lighter

 31.   

13.12.2007

Gas-fuelled, Refillable Pocket Flint Lighters

€0.065 per lighter, excluding those with

a net, free-at-Union-frontier price equal to or greater than €0.15

 32.   

29.2.2008

Ferro Silicon

31.2%

(except for two companies whose individual duty rates are 15.6% and 29% respectively)

 33.   

19.3.2008

Coke of Coal

The difference between the minimum import price of €197 per tonne and the net, free-at-Union-frontier price before duty, in all cases where the latter is less than the minimum import price.

 34.   

11.7.2008

Powdered Activated Carbon

€323 per tonne

 35.   

12.7.2008

Coumarin

€3,479 per tonne

 36.   

17.10.2008

Sulphanilic Acid

33.7%

 37.   

3.12.2008

Monosodium Glutamate

39.7%

(except for two companies whose individual duty rates are 33.8% and 36.5% respectively)

 38.   

4.12.2008

Citric Acid

42.7%

(except for eight companies with individual duty rates ranging from 6.6% to 42.7%)

 39.   

20.12.2008

Certain Welded Tubes and Pipes of Iron or Non-alloy Steel

90.6%

 40.   

31.12.2008

Certain Prepared or Preserved Citrus Fruits

€531.2 per tonne

(except for nineteen companies with individual duty rates ranging from €361.4 to €531.2 per tonne)

 41.   

1.2.2009

Certain Iron or Steel Fasteners

85%

(except for a number of companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 79.5%)

 42.   

14.5.2009

Certain Pre- and Post-stressing Wires and Wire Strands of Non-alloy Steel

46.2%

(except for two companies whose individual duty rates are 0% and 31.1% respectively)

 43.   

15.5.2009

Certain Candles, Tapers and the Like

€549.33 per tonne of fuel

(except for a number of companies with individual duty rates ranging from €0 per tonne of fuel to €367.09 per tonne of fuel)

 44.   

6.8.2009

Wire Rod

24%

(except for one company whose individual duty rate is 7.9%)

 45.   

5.9.2009

Certain Tube and Pipe Fittings of Iron or Steel

58.6%

 46.   

7.10.2009

Certain Seamless Pipes and Tubes of Iron or Steel

39.2%

(except for a number of companies with individual duty rates ranging from 17.7% to 27.2%)

 47.   

7.10.2009

Certain Aluminium Foil

30%

(except for three companies with individual duty rates ranging from 6.4% to 24.2%)

 48.   

11.12.2009

Furfuryl Alcohol

€250 per tonne

(except for five companies with individual duty rates ranging from €84 to €160 per tonne)

 49.   

31.12.2009

Certain Footwear with Uppers of Leather

16.5%

(except for one company whose individual duty rate is 9.7%)

 50.   

27.2.2010

Certain Ring Binder Mechanisms

  1. For mechanisms with 17 and 23 rings : the difference between €325 per 1,000 pieces and the net, free-at-Union-frontier price;
  2. For mechanisms other than 17 and 23 rings: 78.8% (except for one company with an individual duty rate at 51.2%)

 51.   

1.4.2010

Ironing Boards

42.3%

(except for six companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 39.6%)

 52.   

30.5.2010

Silicon Metal

19%

(except for one company whose individual duty rate is 16.3%)

 53.   

9.6.2010

Sodium Cyclamate

€0.26 per kilo

(except for three companies with individual duty rates ranging from €0 to €0.11 per kilo)

 54.   

17.6.2010

Certain Cargo Scanning Systems

34%

 55.   

17.6.2010

Certain Molybdenum Wires

64.3%

Provisional duties (3 cases)

Date of Imposition

Product

Rate of Duty

1.

5.5.2010

Sodium Gluconate

53.4%

(except for two companies with individual duty rates of 5.6% and 27.3%)

2.

12.5.2010

Certain Aluminium Road Wheels

20.6%

3.

3.6.2010

High Tenacity Yarn of Polyesters

9.3%

(except for eleven companies with individual duty rates ranging from 0% to 9.3%)

Investigations underway (6 cases)

Date of Initiation of
Anti-dumping Proceedings

Product

1.

17.12.2009

Certain Continuous Filament Glass Fibre Products

2.

17.2.2010

Melamine

3.

18.2.2010

Coated Fine Paper

4.

20.5.2010

Certain Open Mesh Fabrics of Glass Fibres

5.

19.6.2010

Ceramic Tiles

6.

30.6.2010

Wireless Wide Area Networking (WWAN) Modems

Remark: Anti-dumping duty is levied on the basis of CIF price before duty.

Source: Trade and Industry Department, Hong Kong SAR Government

Scheme of generalised tariff preferences

The EU’s new scheme on generalised system of preferences (“GSP”) entered into effect on 1 January 2009, and will remain in force until 31 December 2011. The scheme classifies products into two categories, namely sensitive products that enjoy the benefits of reduced tariff rates by 3.5 percentage points, and non-sensitive products that enjoy total tariff suspension. Under the new GSP scheme, the Chinese mainland remains a beneficiary. But certain products, including toys, textiles and textile articles, footwear, furniture, jewellery, electrical equipment and watches and clocks, are excluded from preferential treatment. Regarding Hong Kong, the territory has been fully excluded from the EU’s GSP scheme since 1 May 1998.

List of Chinese Products Excluded from the EU's GSP Scheme 2009-2011

HS/CN code

Item

Section 6

Products of the chemical or allied industries

Section 7

Plastics and articles thereof; rubber and articles thereof

Section 8

Raw hides and skins, leather, fur skins and articles thereof; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles of animal gut (other than silkworm gut)

Section 9

Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal; cork and articles of cork; manufactures of straw, of esparto or of other plaiting materials; basket ware and wickerwork

Section 11

Textiles and textile articles

Section 12

Footwear, headgear, umbrellas, sun umbrellas, walking sticks, seat-sticks, whips, riding-crops and parts thereof; prepared feathers and articles made therewith; artificial flowers; articles of human hair

Section 13

Articles of stone, plaster, cement, asbestos, mica or similar materials; ceramic products; glass and glassware

Section 14

Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal, and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coins

Section 15

Base metals and articles of base metal

Section 16

Machinery and mechanical appliances; electrical equipment; parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles

Section 17

Vehicles, aircraft, vessels and associated transport equipment

Section 18

Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus; clocks and watches; musical instruments; parts and accessories thereof

Section 20

Miscellaneous manufactured articles

Source : Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 of 22 July 2008

Environmental protection requirements

Apart from trade measures, there are an increasing number of regulatory requirements in the EU with respect to environmental protection. In fact, Europe is among the most environmentally conscious societies in the world, and is one of the world’s leading regions where green consumerism is active.

The EU’s environmental laws and policy aim to provide a high level of protection to the environment and human health. The laws cover every aspect of the environment, namely air, water, land use, flora and fauna, noise, soil and waste. In this respect, they also impact on merchandise that is sold in the EU, attempting to achieve ever more environmentally friendly products, without at the same time excessively burdening producers and importers placing such products on the EU’s markets.

The laws are intended to provide a broadly equivalent level of protection throughout the EU, and are regularly reviewed and, where necessary, updated. The overall environmental policy is based on the “polluter pays” principle. So-called “polluters” (normally the economic players comprising industry) are required to pay through the investment needed to meet higher standards or by creating adequate systems to take back, recycle or dispose in a sound fashion, products at their end-of-life.

WEEE and RoHS

The EU has introduced two Directives which have an imminent impact on sales of a wide range of consumer electrical and electronic products in the EU market, namely the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) implemented on 13 August 2005, and the Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) that came into effect on 1 July 2006. The two Directives cover all electrical and electronic equipment, including not only household appliances, lighting products, audio-visual equipment, IT equipment (e.g. personal computers), office equipment and telecommunications equipment (e.g. mobile phones), but also electrically-run toys and games, watches and clocks.

The WEEE Directive places the following main responsibilities on the EU’s manufacturers or importers (collectively referred to as “producers”):

  • Producers, either individually or on a collective basis, have to set up systems for the recovery of WEEE. This includes, e.g., recycling or using waste as a fuel or to generate energy. In this connection, by 31 December 2006, producers have to ensure recovery of a minimum percentage of each end-of-life good, e.g. 75% of a discarded video camera or television set.
  • Producers have to finance the following operations: the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE from private households deposited at collection facilities.
  • For new products put on the market after 13 August 2005, each producer will be responsible for financing the operations relating to the waste from his own products. The producer can fulfil this obligation either individually or by joining a collective scheme.
  • For “historical waste”, (waste from products placed on the market before 13 August 2005) producers will be forced to pay a flat rate, based on market share.
  • Each producer will also have to provide a guarantee when placing a product on the market showing that the management of WEEE will be financed.

In this connection, the WEEE Directive lays down the mandatory requirement for producers to mark their electrical and electronics equipment with the symbol of the crossed-out wheeled bin (signifying separate collection). It also requires a unique identification of the producer, and information that the product has been put on the market after 13 August 2005, which can take the form either of the date of manufacture/it being put on the market, or an additional mark (a solid black bar – representing that the product is put on the market after 13 August 2005) used in conjunction with the crossed-out wheeled bin.

As for the RoHS Directive, as from 1 July 2006, any new electrical and electronic equipment placed on the EU market must not contain certain hazardous substances, including four types of heavy metal and two types of flame retardants. Certain product-exemptions to this rule apply. Moreover, tolerance levels for the hazardous substances that may continue to be allowed in electrical and electronic goods are set by the EU as follows:

/resources/MI_Portal/Article/bgem/2012/01/363320/1342088677923_bgem1p33_363320.gif

Table

It should be kept in mind that “homogenous material” means a unit that cannot be mechanically disjointed in single materials.

Implementation of WEEE

The implementing laws for WEEE in the Czech Republic are Act 7/2005 Coll., which amends Act 185/2001 Coll., and the implementing Decree 352/2005. The Act 185/2001 Coll. is the general waste management law of the Czech Republic. The amending Act 7/2005 Coll. inserts a new chapter 8 on electrical and electronic equipment into Act 185/2001 Coll. The amending Act 7/2005 Coll. was published on 6 January 2006. It provides furthermore for the possibility to enact more detailed implementing legislation. It is therefore expected that further implementing measures will follow.

Act No. 7/2005 Coll. entered into force on the date of its promulgation. However, the provisions on the list and registration of producers (section 37i), taking-back and separate collection obligations (section 37k) and financing obligations for household WEEE (section 37n) as well as for non-household WEEE (section 37o) entered into force on 13 August 2005. In addition, Decree 352/2005 entered into force on the date of promulgation, but set the deadline for producer registration for 12 October 2005. The ministry responsible for promulgating the implementing Decree 352/2005 is as follows:

Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic

Vršovická 65, 100 10 Praha 10, Czech Republic
Telephone:      +420 267 121 111
Fax:                 +420 267 310 308
E-mail:              info@mzp.cz
Web:               www.mzp.cz

Under Czech WEEE legislation, producers are obliged to join a collective scheme for historical household WEEE. Five collective systems are established so far:

  • Retela (www.retela.cz) is a collective scheme set up by the Czech and Moravian electrical and electronic association, the Czech and Moravian Commodity Exchange Kladno and Safina, a company active, among others, in the purchase and recycling of waste materials containing precious metals. Retela was registered to provide services for all 10 WEEE categories.
  • Asekol (www.asekol.cz) is a collective scheme founded by several consumer electronics and IT producers, among them companies such as LG Electronics CZ, Panasonic Czech Republic, Philips Česká republika, Samsung Electronics, Sony Czech and Thomson multimedia Czech. Asekol collects WEEE from categories 3,4,7,8 and 10.
  • Ekolamp (www.ekolamp.cz) is a collective scheme founded by four members of the European Lamp Companies Federation (ELC, www.elcfed.org), including GE Lighting, Philips, Narva and Osram. It collects lighting equipment (category 5).
  • Elektrowin (www.elektrowin.cz) was founded by members of the Czech CECED (among others companies such as BSH (Bosch, Siemens), Electrolux (AEG, Zanussi, Electrolux), Whirlpool (Whirlpool, Bauknecht, Ignis), Groupe SEB CR (Tefal, Moulinex, Rowenta, Krups), Miele, Philips Česká republika. It collects WEEE from groups 1 and 2 (large and small household appliances) as well as 6.
  • Rema (www.remasystem.cz) was founded by manufacturers and importers of IT technologies and consumer AV equipment. Rema is backed by companies such as Actebis Computer, AT Computers, Canon CZ, eD` system Czech, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Czech, Xerox Czech Republic. It collects WEEE from all 10 categories.

Implementation of RoHS

The implementing Czech law is Act 7/2005 Coll., which amends Act 185/2001 Coll. The Act 185/2001 Coll. is the general waste management law of the Czech Republic. The amending Act 7/2005 Coll. inserts a new chapter 8 on electrical and electronic equipment into Act 185/2001 Coll. It also transposes the RoHS Directive (Section 37j(3)). The amending Act 7/2005 Coll. was published on 6 January 2006. It provides furthermore for the possibility to enact more detailed implementing legislation. On that basis, Decree 352/2005 was published on 15 September 2005. Annex 5 of the Decree, which relates to Section 37j(3) of Act 7/2005 Coll., contains the list of substances and conditions with exemptions, commensurate with the Annex to the RoHS Directive. The ministry responsible for promulgating the implementing Decree 352/2005 is as follows:

Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic

Vršovická 65, 100 10 Praha 10, Czech Republic
Telephone:      +420 267 121 111
Fax:                 +420 267 310 308
E-mail:              info@mzp.cz
Web:               www.mzp.cz

The actual monitoring of RoHS compliance is done by the Czech Trade Inspection (operating under the umbrella of the Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry) and the Czech Inspection of Environment (operating under the Ministry of Environment). According to the WEEE and RoHS expert in the Czech Ministry of Environment, there is no prescribed method to demonstrate compliance. The principle in the Czech Republic is self-declaration or self-certification. In other words, one possibility for producers is to demonstrate compliance by presenting declarations of conformity on the basis of information and data from third persons, i.e. suppliers of components. In that case, the producer, on the basis of a bill of materials, would request from his suppliers a written declaration confirming the RoHS compliance of the components in question. It is prudent to verify these declarations/data as to their plausibility and keep them.

Ongoing recasts

On 3 December 2008, the European Commission (EC) presented two proposals: one for a recast WEEE Directive and the other for a recast RoHS Directive. Several provisions in each of the draft texts will be of direct relevance and interest to Hong Kong’s electrical appliances manufacturers. After the first years of implementation and two extensive stakeholder consultations, a number of implementation-related problems have been realised, including difficulties in determining the scope of different electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), divergence in member states’ methods for assessing product compliance and carrying out market surveillance, as well as potential overlap with newer policies and legislation covering, for example, chemicals (REACH), which tend to impede the efficient implementation of the Directives.

With a view to toughening up the existing laws, increasing producer responsibility, and intensifying market surveillance in the EU, the Council of the EU’s secretariat, on 3 September 2009, presented member state delegations with further revisions for new RoHS and WEEE Directives. While the new draft texts will be further debated in Council, the European Parliament is expected to vote on the amendments at plenary sessions in September and October 2010. It is possible that both new Directives could be adopted immediately thereafter, however, their implementation should occur 18 months after the date of publication in the EU’s Official Journal or in 2012.

Ecodesign requirements for energy-related products

On the heels of the WEEE Directive and RoHS Directive, the EU’s new Directive on the ecodesign of energy-related products is now in place. On 31 October 2009, the EU’s Official Journal published a new law (Directive 2009/125/EC) that is intended to change the way “energy-related” products will be designed, to make them more environmentally friendly. The new Directive (entered into force on 20 November 2009) repealed and replaced the earlier 2005 EuP Directive (2005/32/EC), establishing a framework (not binding ecodesign requirements) for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products.

Although it is clear from the subject matter and scope of the new ecodesign Directive’s Article 1 that all energy-related products are potentially covered within its scope, the actual products that fall within its scope will be spelt out by means of the European Commission’s future implementing measures. Such products would continue to include energy-using products (e.g., different types of electrical appliances) but could, potentially, also cover shower heads and other bathroom fittings, insulation materials, double-glazing, and other products that are related to the using of energy, which, in effect, have a significant potential for saving it, if designed in an eco-friendly manner.

Hong Kong manufacturers and exporters may obtain a clearer idea of the types of products that will be covered by future implementing measures, by examining the definition, in Article 2, of “energy-related product”. Such product is defined as “any good that has an impact on energy consumption during use which is placed on the market and/or put into service, and includes parts intended to be incorporated into energy-related products covered by this Directive which are placed on the market and/or put into service as individual parts for end-users and of which the environmental performance can be assessed independently.”

The new Directive requires that the Commission establish a working plan, no later than 21 October 2011, which will set out for the ensuing three years an indicative list of product groups which are priorities for the adoption of implementing measures. The new Directive also foresees (in Article 17) that voluntary agreements, or other self-regulation measures, can be presented as alternatives to implementing (i.e., binding) measures.

The Member States have until 20 November 2010 to implement the provisions of the new ecodesign Directive (Article 23). However, Hong Kong producers should be aware that the provisions of the new Directive will not apply directly to them, but will have to be taken into account in the context of the future implementing measures (or voluntary agreements).

It is also important for Hong Kong companies to note that the Commission and several parliamentary members had pushed in 2008 to include items such as clothing, footwear, furniture and cleaning products within the scope of the new EuP Directive, on the basis of the potential for ecodesign requirements to minimise the environmental impact of the production and/or disposal of such items. The potential for a future extension of the Directive to include such products will be discussed again during a review of the Directive’s effectiveness, although this will only likely begin in 2012.

REACH

REACH, an EU Regulation, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, entered into force in June 2007. Among others, it requires EU manufacturers and importers of chemical substances (whether on their own, in preparations or in certain articles) to gather comprehensive information on properties of their substances produced or imported in volumes of one tonne or more per year, and to register such substances prior to manufacturing in or import into the EU.

After the pre-registration period for phase-in substances came to an end on 1 December 2008, importers or only representatives of Hong Kong manufacturers operating in the EU market that are affected by REACH will be in breach of the Regulation and will either have to enter full-scale registration without delay, or else suspend their sales indefinitely, if they have failed to pre-register as required. However, potential registrants who manufacture or import for the first time a phase-in substance in quantities of one tonne or more per year after 1 December 2008, can submit a late pre-registration, provided they do so at the latest six months after manufacturing or importing a substance above the one tonne threshold per year, and at least 12 months before the relevant transitional deadline for registration. The deadline depends on the tonnage band and the hazardous properties of the substance. The staggered deadlines are 30 November 2010, 31 May 2013 or 31 May 2018. Late pre-registration does not apply to companies that failed to meet the pre-registration deadline. These companies cannot continue producing or importing the substance until they have submitted a full registration dossier for the relevant tonnage.

On the other hand, substances of very high concern (SVHCs) will be gradually included in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation. Once included in that Annex, they cannot be placed on the market or used after a date to be set (the so-called “sunset date”) unless companies are granted an authorisation. SVHCs include substances which are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMR) categories 1 or 2; persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) or very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) according to the criteria in Annex XIII of the REACH Regulation; and/or identified, on a case-by-case basis, from scientific evidence as causing probable serious effects to humans or the environment of an equivalent level of concern as those above, e.g., endocrine disrupters. The authorisation mechanism will consist of an in-depth assessment, its outcome then being discussed before appropriate decisions are taken by the Commission.

Hong Kong companies manufacturing articles that contain those SVHCs should note that from 2011, EU producers or importers of articles have to notify the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) if their articles contain a substance on the Candidate List for authorisation. The obligation applies if the substance is present above 0.1% weight-by-weight (w/w) and its quantities in the produced/imported articles are above one tonne in total per year per company. For substances included in the Candidate List before 1 December 2010, the notifications have to be submitted not later than 1 June 2011. For substances included in the Candidate List on or after 1 December 2010, the notifications have to be submitted no later than six months after inclusion. However, a notification is not required in two situations. First, if the producer or importer of an article can exclude exposure to humans and the environment during the use and disposal of the article. Second, if the substance has already been registered for that use up the same supply chain or any other supply chain.

Candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs)
(as of 18 June 2010)

Date of inclusion

Substance

CAS no.

EC no.

Reason(s) for inclusion

18.06.2010

Ammonium dichromate

7789-09-5

232-143-1

Carcinogenic (category 2), mutagenic (category 2) and toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Boric acid

10043-35-3/
11113-50-1

233-139-2/
234-343-4

Toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Disodium tetraborate, anhydrous

12179-04-3
1330-43-4/
1303-96-4/

215-540-4

Toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Potassium chromate

7789-00-6

232-140-5

Carcinogenic (category 2) and mutagenic (category 2)

Potassium dichromate

7778-50-9

231-906-6

Carcinogenic  (category 2), mutagenic  (category 2) and toxic for reproduction  (category 2)

Sodium chromate

7775-11-3

231-889-5

Carcinogenic  (category 2), mutagenic  (category 2) and toxic for reproduction  (category 2)

Tetraboron disodium heptaoxide, hydrate

12267-73-1

235-541-3

Toxic for reproduction  (category 2)

Trichloroethylene

79-01-6

201-167-4

Carcinogenic  (category 2)

30.03.2010

Acrylamide

79-06-1

201-173-7

Carcinogenic (category 2) and mutagenic (category 2)

13.01.2010

2,4 - Dinitrotoluene

121-14-2

204-450-0

Carcinogenic (category 2)

Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic Fibres

650-017-00-8**

-

Carcinogenic (category 2)

Anthracene oil

90640-80-5

292-602-7

Carcinogenic1) (category 2), PBT and vPvB

Anthracene oil, anthracene paste

90640-81-6

292-603-2

Carcinogenic2) (category 2), mutagenic3) (category 2), PBT and vPvB

Anthracene oil, anthracene paste, anthracene fraction

91995-15-2

295-275-9

Carcinogenic2) (category 2), mutagenic3) (category 2), PBT and vPvB

Anthracene oil, anthracene paste, distillation lights*

91995-17-4

295-278-5

Carcinogenic2) (category 2), mutagenic3) (category 2), PBT and vPvB

Anthracene oil, anthracene-low

90640-82-7

292-604-8

Carcinogenic2) (category 2), mutagenic3) (category 2), PBT and vPvB

Coal tar pitch, high temperature

65996-93-2

266-028-2

Carcinogenic (category 2), PBT and vPvB

Diisobutyl phthalate

84-69-5

201-553-2

Toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Lead chromate

7758-97-6

231-846-0

Carcinogenic (category 2) and toxic for reproduction (category 1)

Lead chromate molybdate sulphate red (C.I. Pigment Red 104)***

12656-85-8

235-759-9

Carcinogenic (category 2) and toxic for reproduction (category 1)

Lead sulfochromate yellow (C.I. Pigment Yellow 34)***

1344-37-2

215-693-7

Carcinogenic (category 2) and toxic for reproduction (category 1)

Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate

115-96-8

204-118-5

Toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Zirconia Aluminosilicate Refractory Ceramic Fibres

650-017-00-8**

-

Carcinogenic (category 2)

28.10.2008

4,4'- Diaminodiphenylmethane (MDA)

101-77-9

202-974-4

Carcinogenic (category 2)

5-tert-butyl-2,4,6-trinitro-m-xylene (musk xylene)

81-15-2

201-329-4

vPvB

Alkanes, C10-13, chloro

85535-84-8

287-476-5

PBT and vPvB

Anthracene

120-12-7

204-371-1

PBT

Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)

85-68-7

201-622-7

Toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)

117-81-7

204-211-0

Toxic for reproduction  (category 2)

Bis (tributyltin) oxide (TBTO)

56-35-9

200-268-0

PBT

Cobalt dichloride

7646-79-9

231-589-4

Carcinogenic (category 2)

Diarsenic pentaoxide

1303-28-2

215-116-9

Carcinogenic (category 1)

Diarsenic trioxide

1327-53-3

215-481-4

Carcinogenic (category 1)

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

84-74-2

201-557-4

Toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and all major diastereoisomers identified: Alpha-hexabromocyclodo-decane; Beta-hexabromocyclodo-
decane; Gamma-hexabromocyclo-
dodecane

25637-99-4
(3194-55-6)

247-148-4
(221-695-9) and (134237-50-6) (134237-51-7) (134237-52-8)

PBT

Lead hydrogen arsenate

7784-40-9

232-064-2

Carcinogenic (category 1) and toxic for reproduction (category 1)

Sodium dichromate

7789-12-0/
10588-01-9

234-190-3

Carcinogenic (category 2), mutagenic (category 2) and toxic for reproduction (category 2)

Triethyl arsenate

15606-95-8

427-700-2

Carcinogenic (category 1)

* Light fractions from distillation

** All refractory ceramic fibres are covered by index number 650-017-00-8 in Annex VI of the Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemical substances and mixtures, the so called CLP Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008).

*** C.I.: Colour Index

1)       The substance does not meet the criteria for identification as a carcinogen in situations where it contains less than 0.005 % (w/w) benzo[a]pyrene (EINECS No 200-028-5)

2)       The substance does not meet the criteria for identification as a carcinogen in situations where it contains less than 0.005 % (w/w) benzo[a]pyrene (EINECS No 200-028-5) and less than 0,1 % w/w benzene (EINECS No 200-753-7).]

3)       The substance does not meet the criteria for identification as a mutagen in situations where it contains less than 0,1 % w/w benzene (EINECS No 200-753-7).]

Note: The list will be regularly updated when more substances are identified as SVHC.

Source: ECHA (http://echa.europa.eu/chem_data/authorisation_process/candidate_list_table_en.asp)

Toy Safety Directive

On 30 June 2009, Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys (the “Toy Safety Directive”) was published in the EU’s Official Journal. The new Directive has updated existing measures to take account of technological developments and – following a number of high profile product withdrawals of dangerous goods – new safety concerns.

With the publication of this much anticipated Directive, the clock for the implementation of the Directive’s provisions in Member States has started ticking. Indeed, the EU27 are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 20 January 2011 and to apply those measures from 20 July 2011 (a further transitional period will apply in limited instances, for which see the last paragraph below).

Some of the key provisions of this new legislation, which differ from the existing legislation (Directive 88/378/EEC) and which will have a significant impact on the extensive export market for toys to the EU from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, are highlighted below:

  • Definition of toys: In order to ensure the harmonised application of the new toy safety Directive, an updated definition of a toy has been provided in the Directive as a product intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age.
The Directive sets out a list of products which are toys but which are excluded from its scope in its Article 2. These include: playground equipment intended for public use, automatic playing machines, whether coin-operated or not, intended for public use, toy vehicles equipped with combustion engines, toy steam engines and slings and catapults.
Annex 1 sets out a non-exhaustive list of products that do not fulfil the definition of toys but could be confused with them. The list is only indicative and the toy safety Directive states that it should be added to, to clearly show which items will not be considered to be toys for the purposes of the legislation, e.g., to include certain new products, such as videogames and peripherals. New products included in the list in Annex 1 include swimming learning devices for children such as swim seats and swimming aids; skateboards intended for children with a body mass of more than 20kg; and child-appealing luminaires. Additional information is given on other product ranges which will not be included in the scope of the Directive, such as certain collectors’ items, with Annex 1 providing that the packaging of such items should bear a visible and legible indication that these are intended for collectors of 14 years of age and above.
Further definitions are expanded upon in Article 3 of the new Directive, including the term “placing on the market”, which is stated to mean “the first making available of a toy on the Community market”. The definitions of different economic operators are also set out, including manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors. Among others, aquatic toys, chemical toys, olfactory board games, cosmetics kits, gustative games and design speed are also defined.
  • Safety: Expanded safety requirements are set out for manufacturers to comply with. In addition to the expanded general safety requirement that “Toys, including the chemicals they contain, shall not jeopardise the safety or health of users or third parties when they are used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the behaviour of children”, particular safety requirements have been set out and clarified in Annex II. These relate to: 
    • Physical and mechanical properties;
    • Flammability;
    • Chemical properties;
    • Electrical properties;
    • Hygiene; and
    • Radioactivity.
More stringent rules will also apply to chemical hazards caused by certain chemical substances and fragrances used in toys, as well as noise from toys, under the new toy safety Directive. Toys will be required to be designed and manufactured in such a way that there is no risk of adverse effects on human health due to exposure to the chemical substances or mixtures of which the toys are composed or which they contain when the toys are used as intended or in a foreseeable way (bearing in mind the behaviour of children). Toys will also be required to comply with the relevant Community legislation relating to certain categories of products or to restrictions for certain substances and mixtures. Toys that are themselves substances or mixtures must comply with Council Directive 67/548/EEC, Directive 1999/45/EC, the classification and labelling Regulation (CLP Regulation 1272/2008) and the REACH Regulation (Regulation 1907/2006).
Moreover, substances classified as being carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMRs), allergenic substances and certain metals are also restricted. For example, substances that are classified as CMR of category 1A, 1B or 2 under the CLP Regulation shall not, as a general rule, be used in toys, in components of toys or in micro-structurally distinct parts of toys.
  • Warnings: The new toy safety Directive also complements and adds to existing provisions regarding warnings on toys. General requirements provide that warnings placed on packaging and on toys themselves must be clearly visible and preceded by the word “Warning”. In addition, warnings must be provided in a language that is understandable to consumers and must be visible on the packaging or at the point of sale, where their content might influence a decision whether or not to purchase a toy (the warning must also be made visible prior to an internet sale). Warnings must be marked clearly, legibly and in a manner which is understandable to consumers on the toy, on an affixed label or on the packaging and, if appropriate, on instructions for use. Where the toy is sold without packaging due to its size, the warnings should be affixed to the toy itself.
Specific warnings are set out in the Directive’s Annex V. These include a general requirement to display the minimum or maximum age of the user of the toy and, where appropriate, the abilities of the user, the maximum or minimum weight of the user and the need to ensure that the toy is used only under adult supervision. Further specific warnings are set out for: toys not intended for use by children under 36 months; activity toys; functional toys; chemical toys; aquatic toys; packaging for fragrances in olfactory board games, cosmetics kits; and toys in food.
  • Manufacturer and importer responsibility: Economic operators placing toys on the EU market will carry the responsibility for ensuring that these toys comply with the toy safety Directive. For example, importers now have the express obligation to only place compliant toys on the EU market and to ensure that the appropriate conformity assessment procedure has been carried out by the manufacturer.
When placing a toy on the market, importers should indicate on the toy their name and the address at which they can be contacted. Exceptions may be provided for in cases where the size or nature of the toy does not allow for such an indicator. This includes cases where importers would have to open the packaging to put their name and address on the product.

While the Directive is set to be implemented in 2011, there are certain transitional periods which relate to certain provisions. Accordingly, for two years after the entry into force of the new Directive, toys which comply with the current legislation may be placed on the market. For the new chemical requirements, a four-year transitional period is provided for, to ensure that harmonised standards can be developed to ensure compliance. The new toy safety Directive can be accessed at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:170:0001:0037:EN:PDF

Harmonisation of product standards

The Czech Republic has adopted the EU’s technical standards, as well as regulations related to health and safety. For years, the country has been in the process of adapting to the EU’s harmonised European product legislation, which covers conformity assessment bodies, accreditation bodies, standardisation and market surveillance. Products certified in accordance with EU standards are now recognised by the Czech Republic. As many Hong Kong exporters have already had their products certified to meet and/or be conformable with the EU’s standards, they will be able to market the same products in the Czech Republic without additional approval.

Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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