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EuroVAprint responds to UKCRA’s VA position

March 10, 2021

As the voluntary agreement winds its way towards the latest 9 April deadline, positions and VA details are evolving. But not everyone agrees.

In February we published an article about UKCRA’s (United Kingdom Cartridge Remanufacturer’s Association) concerns about the proposed Voluntary Agreement (VA). The concerns were submitted ahead of the 29 January deadline and meeting to review the VA and were released to The Recycler a few days before the UKCRA article was published.

This week EuroVAprint, the organisation of OEMs navigating the VA, responded to the UKCRA article.  Their response is reproduced in full below:

“We presented a detailed Progress Report to the EC and the Consultation Forum members on 29 January. It included significant changes not reflected in the article from UKCRA. We also discussed these updates with you and your colleagues at BEIS during our call on 12 February.

Before going into the details of the various points, we would like to highlight that UKCRA has never reached out to EVAP or to the remanufacturers involved in the process, to express an interest in becoming a stakeholder, in contributing to the VA or in submitting comments in the 3 years this process has endured. It is worth noting that UKCRA did not approach us either after EVAP invited ETIRA -with whom it has close links- to join the process and be an active active stakeholder in drafting of the VA.

In the Consultation Forum on 29 January, EVAP and the remanufacturing companies that have been developing the joint VA committed to the following:

  • Remove the wording that referred to Supporting Signatories having a “substantive operational establishment” in the EU;
  • Remove the provision stating that remanufactured/refilled cartridges/containers must make up at least 80% of cartridge/container units made available by a Supporting Signatory. While the 80% provision did make a distinction based on the product mix for cartridges and containers it is important to note that, contrary to the comments by UKCRA, it said nothing about any business the Supporting Signatories might have in components. In addition, it was noted in the original Explanatory Note submitted to the Commission in September 2020 that if a wider range of companies wish to join the Voluntary Agreement then the provisions will need to be adjusted. This point was made again in the Consultation Forum update and EVAP is working on amendments to the draft VA to accommodate a wider range of Supporting Signatories implied by the removal of the 80% provision.

The article states that the draft VA does not include a compliance threshold for OEM Signatories to enter into Bilateral Arrangements with Supporting Signatories and that there is no enforcement mechanism if the OEM Signatories do not meet the targets for Bilateral Arrangements.  Apart from the fact that these two allegations appear to contradict each other, they are also both incorrect. The draft VA submitted to the EC in September 2020 does contain a compliance threshold for OEM Signatories in Annex D-2, Verification of Resource Efficiency and Information Requirements, to enter into Bilateral Arrangements with Supporting Signatories. Under the VA enforcement provisions, if the OEM Signatory fails to comply with this obligation and does not rectify the issue within 6 months it is removed from the Voluntary Agreement.

The article also comments on the Printer Design Commitment in the VA but, again, is not completely accurate. The draft VA contains a commitment from OEM Signatories that neither printers nor software/firmware updates for the printers will be designed to prevent printing using remanufactured cartridges using the original electronic circuitry.  The wording refers to original electronic circuitry because that is what the OEM Signatories design and produce and therefore that is what they can take responsibility for.  The Bilateral Arrangements are then a mechanism to find solutions to address some functionality limitations faced by remanufacturers when using the original electronic circuitry.   

Furthermore, since the European Commission and Member States granted us 90 days to agree on targets, we have created a sub-group with Member States and representatives of DG Energy and DG Environment to that end. Although the Commission agreed that the group should remain small to be productive and participants should be open minded and have an interest to find a solution, we have opened the sub-group to BEUC, ETIRA and Static Control as observers. They can filter comments through the Member States.”

Editor’s Comment: As the VA navigates its way forward, it remains contentious, will OEMs enter into the bilateral agreements with remanufacturers?  It appears that some OEMs don’t relish this concept. While some remanufacturers don’t trust the OEMs when it comes to the data they will collect via the printer. But the underlying problem is that the VA does not address the whole market where on legislation will work.

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