||Illegal Trade in CFCs
Since January 1, 1996, consumption of newly produced CFCs has been banned in developed countries. Stockpiling of previous years' production was allowed, however, so that older equipment, such as car air conditioners built before 1993 could continue to be used.
Because of the established needs of the developing countries, production of CFCs has continued in the U.S. (for export) as well as in countries like India, China, and Mexico. Currently, China, is responsible for nearly 40% of the world's production. With high demand and low availability of CFCs, prices have risen and a black market has developed. Freon purchased in Mexico can be sold in the U.S. for up to 10 times its original cost. A group called "Ozone Action" estimates that 150,000 tons of CFCs was produced worldwide in 1996, and that 10,000 tons was smuggled into the U.S. These numbers seem high, but as recently as 1986, 900,000 tons of CFCs was produced.
The US Justice Department is getting tough on smuggling. Twelve individuals in four U.S. cities were indicted in January, 1997 for smuggling CFCs into the U.S.
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