Other legislative developments

Atmospheric Residue import duty and aromatics content

The customs classification of atmospheric residues and vacuum gasoil was changed early 2013, imposing an import duty of 1.7% on products whose aromatics content exceeds that of non-aromatics. Previously, the aromatics level had not been considered, and imports of the concerned products were exempted from import duties. After the change in classification, a customs duty suspension was granted up to 31 December 2018 before being prolonged by the Commission for the period from 1.1.2019 until 3.12.2023.

However, FuelsEurope intends to obtain equal treatment for the concerned products independent of their aromatics content, as was the case before the change in classification that happened in 2013. Specifically, it is aiming to transform the customs duty suspension into a duty exemption; obtain an end-use relief; and cover the same products and the range of processes used to make such products.

In parallel, the current clarification discussion by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) related to the concerned product will be investigated in detail.

 

The Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR)

Both the Payment Services Directive (PSD) and the regulation on Multilateral Interchange Fees, now called the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR), reviews were concluded in December 2015. The revised Payment Service Directive, which regulates consumer payment services, excludes fuel cards. The revised MIF regulation successfully capped and harmonized interchange fees at Union level for the debit and credit card payments.

However, since the introduction of the Interchange Fee Regulation, increases in the scheme fees of consumer cards as well as increased use of commercial cards – those not being regulated under the IFR – are causing concerns to our members.

The 2019 review of the IFR should take into account the concerns expressed in combination with possible measures to mitigate them.

Degassing of barges

The Conference of Parties (CVP) of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCNR) adopted a modified Convention  on   the   collection, deposit   and   reception   of   waste generated during navigation on the Rhine and other inland waterways (CDNI) on 22 June 2017. This modification includes how the release of gaseous residues from liquid loads on inland waterways will be regulated.  The CCNR authorities and industry stakeholders (chemicals, refining, logistics, barge operators and owners) have over the last 3 years worked together to develop the modified legislation. The modified CDNI legislation will need to be ratified by the CCNR Member States (Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg) before entering into force.

The modified CDNI legislation aims at establishing a progressive introduction of the degassing prohibition by focusing on high volume dangerous products transported over inland waterways based on a pragmatic and feasible approach, while avoiding that gaseous residues of liquid cargos are considered as waste. This last point is intended to facilitate the recovery of those gaseous residues as raw material.

Special provisions have been included with the aim of reducing emission of gaseous residues of liquid loads by regulating compatible or unit barge transports.

The refining industry intends to continue monitoring the further developments related to the CDNI regulation.

Several member states are starting to consider the practical implementation of the regulation, including the construction of degassing installations and the need to maximise unit or compatible products transport by inland waterway barges. FuelsEurope will actively follow-up the regulation implementation work.