Swedish authorities publish proposals to take into account flame retardant safety properties based on assessments. The Swedish chemicals tax on most electrical and electronic goods was introduced in 2017. An official report in 2020 concluded that it has been largely ineffective in modifying flame retardant use, is not cost-effective, has increased prices for consumers and is burdensome for companies (see pina Newsletter n°118).
In their final report on how to modify the tax, Sweden’s Tax and Chemicals Agencies now propose to:
- reduce the tax rate (95% exemption instead of 90%) for products not containing FRs considered problematic,
- take into account hazard assessment of FRs, such as CLP classification or Green-ScreenTM ratings, in defining tax rates, as well as presence of bromine, chlorine, fluorine or phosphorus and reactive/additive,
- clarify definitions, including for “flame retardant” and for “reactive” and “additive” FRs, plus various other technical changes.
The report notes that “FRs containing bromine, chlorine and fluorine (halogenated flame retardants) should be considered as a single group, as regards hazard, which should be phased out”.
The recommended tax rates, depending on the characteristics of FRs present in the E&E product sold are as follows:
- zero tax deduction (i.e. highest tax rate) for products containing additive FRs with high hazard level or identified as ‘Phase-out’ on the Sweden KEMI PRIO list. Also, if containing additive halogenated (bromine, chlorine, fluorine) FRs for which hazard data is insufficient for assessment.
- 50% deduction if containing additive FRs identified as “Priority risk-reduction” in PRIO or Green-Screen Benchmark 2, or if containing hazardous or PRIO “Phase-out” reactive Also, if containing the following FRs with inadequate hazard data: phosphorus containing additive FRs, halogenated reactive FRs.
- 95% deduction if containing additive FRs which are not identified in CLP as “particularly hazardous”, are not PRIO “Priority risk-reduction” or are Green-Screen Benchmark 3 or 4, or if containing reactive FRs which are “Priority-risk assessment”, Green Screen Benchmark 2, or reactive halogenated or P-FRs with inadequate hazard information.
- The 95% reduction is also applicable to products NOT containing FRs, that is all products pay a minimum 5% tax.
The report also proposes to extend the tax to a wider range of products, including printers, memories, keyboards, etc. Legal wording is proposed to implement these proposals into regulation. These proposals will now be considered by the Swedish government.
A joint statement between pinfa and IT&T (Sweden’s IT and telecom industry organisation) regrets that it is not proposed to withdraw this tax, which is recognised to be ineffective, and calls for zero-tax for products containing only best-in-class flame retardants.
“Utvärdering av skatten på kemikalier i viss elektronik, del 2. Redovisning av regeringsuppdrag” Fi2019/04008/S2 ‘“Evaluation of the tax on chemicals in certain electronics, part 2. Reporting of government assignments”, Sweden Tax Agency and Sweden Chemicals Agency KEMI 17/5/2021, in Swedish with English summary https://www.skatteverket.se/download/18.3016b5d91791bf546791837/1621318436048/Utv%C3%A4rdering%20av%20skatten%20p%C3%A5%20kemikalier%20i%20viss%20elektronik%20del%202.pdf
Joint statement pinfa and IT&Telekomföretagen www.itot.se “Proposed chemical tax revision is appreciated – necessary steps in the right direction, but complete withdrawal should still be considered”, 4 June 2021 https://www.pinfa.eu/mediaroom/proposed-chemical-tax-revision-is-appreciated-necessary-steps-in-the-right-direction-but-complete-withdrawal-should-still-be-considered/