Honeywell and DuPont Receive Statement of Objection

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There has been a long battle over which refrigerants should and shouldn’t be used in air conditioning systems and there has been a strong force within the industry to try and make refrigerants more environmentally friendly not only for the greater good but also to ensure that businesses adhere to the law.

However, the European Commission has recently sent a Statement of Objections to Honeywell and DuPont. The statement was sent in regards to the refrigerant R-1234yf. It said, “The European Commission has informed Honeywell International Inc. and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) of its preliminary view that the refrigerant for use in car air conditioning systems (R-1234yf), may have limited its availability and technical development, in break of EU antitrust rules.”

Not only have there been reforms when it comes to air conditioning for buildings but also for vehicles too and in 2006 the EU created new standards for systems that would be in vehicles. They did this so they would reduce emissions that could be harmful and to enable each country to reach their reduced emission targets. Currently the R-1234yf refrigerant is the only refrigerant that is commercially available to have a greater reduced Global Warming Potential (GWP).

The European Commission is worried that agreements between Honeywell and DuPont could have restricted competition for the refrigerant in the market. Currently these two brands are the only manufacturers of the refrigerant for car manufacturers.

The Commission have said that in their findings that as there are two businesses manufacturing R-1234yf the decisions lack independence which means that competition isn’t as high as it could be.

The effect of a non-competitive market is that there are limitations to the amount of R-1234yf refrigerant available making it more expensive for car manufacturers to purchase. Not only is there a lack of volume the reduced market competition will mean that there is a lack of technical development when it comes to the product. In the statement the European Commission have written, “This behaviour may infringe Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 53 of the EEA (European Economic Area) Agreement that prohibit anticompetitive agreements.”

As a result of the new refrigerant there are now around 500,000 cars on the road that use R-1234yf and by the end of the year it is expected that this figure will be greater than two million.

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