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EU green manufacturing directive in place in July

Mr. Daniel Poon, TDC Assistant Chief Economist.
Professor K B Chan, Chairman, Hong Kong Green Manufacturing Alliance.

The European Union's green manufacturing directive - Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) - will come into force on July 1. However, different implementation measures will be adopted in 25 EU Member States.

Hong Kong traders of electronic goods are advised to pay special attention and comply with all relevant regulations to avoid business losses, according to a report published by Hong Kong Trade Development Council today (May 11).

The EU's waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Directive came into effect in August 2005. The two Directives cover almost all electrical and electronic equipment, including electrically-run toys and games, watches and clocks.

TDC Assistant Chief Economist Mr. Daniel Poon said the two Directives have a marked impact on Hong Kong exports.

"Over 50% of Hong Kong's total exports are electrical and electronic items. In particular, Hong Kong's exports of electronics amounted to HK$1,073 billion in 2005," Mr. Poon said.

The EU is Hong Kong's second largest market after the Chinese mainland, absorbing 14% of exports during the year.

Mr Poon added: "Failure to comply with the two regulations will certainly hinder sales to the EU. It is always crucial for Hong Kong manufacturers and exporters to keep an eye on the latest developments."

He said the two Directives are not undertaken by the supranational institution of the EU, but by the 25 EU member states, which have adopted them into their local legislation.

Each member state will have its own implementation scheme, covering designation of competent bodies, formulation of certification and registration procedures, and imposition of penalties for non-compliance.

While separate Member States have provided their own guidelines for product testing, to date there is no EU-wide agreed method for testing to ensure that products are RoHS compliant.

Mr. Poon said the European Commission is to set out certain guidelines for product testing methods for RoHS compliance. The European Commission has not confirmed when such a document will be published, but has stated that it is indeed working together with the Member States to produce such guidance.

The objective of such a document would be to provide a set of non-mandatory, EU-wide, broad principles to support RoHS enforcement.

The document would outline the documentation that producers should keep, how enforcement bodies might use such documentation to check for RoHS compliance and how sample preparation and analytical testing could be employed if necessary.

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"Riding on the Green Manufacturing Trend: Implication of EU WEEE & RoSH directives" is newly published and available at TDC Bookshop. The report lays out the frameworks of WEEE & RoHS implementation in the 25 member states, along with the latest developments in their implementation schedules.

"WEEE/RoHS Implementation Summary" is uploaded to tdctrade.com BusinessAlert - EU section.

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For press enquiries, please contact TDC Corporate Communication Department at 2584 4333.

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Content provided by Hong Kong Trade Development Council