China's home appliance manufacturers will not be affected by a recent ban on the use of CFCs as a refrigerant, according to industry experts.
"The new policy will have little impact on the overall industry. But small players still face tough decisions - upgrade their technology or lose market share," Jiang Feng, secretary-general of the China Household Electrical Appliances Association, told China Daily.
Jiang said all large and medium-sized home appliance producers have already replaced CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, with R600a, a new environmentally friendly refrigerant, in the manufacture of refrigerators and other products. But she pointed out there are still some small-scale factories using the old technology.
CFCs, which are known to cause damage to the ozone layer, were widely used in products such as refrigerators, ice-makers, ice-cream makers, water dispensers and rice cookers.
But China's home appliance manufacturers have been replacing CFCs in their products since the early 1990s, in line with the Montreal Protocol.
Products containing CFCs are rarely seen in China's urban markets, Jiang said, but some still exist in small towns and villages.
Fu Li, public relations manager of Beijing-based home appliance retailer Dazhong Electronics, said the company had removed all products containing CFCs from its shelves several months ago. Fu said Dazhong's products are now equipped with newer technology.
Jiang said the ban would not impact China's exporters.
China's five ministries issued a ban on the use of CFCs as a refrigerant in the home appliance industry, effective from the beginning of next month.
A ban on products containing CFCs from being sold, imported or exported has been in place since September 1.
The ministries include the State Environmental Protection Administration, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, the General Administration of Customs, and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
Emerging scientific evidence of a link between increasing emissions of CFCs and damage to the ozone layer prompted scientists and environmentalists to push for an international agreement to ban the substance. A pact, known as the Montreal Protocol, was signed in 1987.
(China Daily June 23, 2007)