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The Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) has launched an investigation into the effects of the country’s tax on certain chemicals in electronics.

The tax, introduced in 2017, covers bromine-, chlorine- and phosphorous-based substances used in electronics, with an aim to encourage their substitution. Some of these substances are listed on the UN's Stockholm Convention of persistent organic pollutants. Bromine and chlorine are two of the elements in the chemical group known as halogens.

The agency’s investigation, which is expected to be completed by autumn next year, aims to find out if the tax has led to a reduction of the substances in products such as laptops, microwave ovens, coffee machines and identify whether the use of chlorine, bromine or phosphorus flame retardants have reduced.

The range of products covered includes 13 categories of electrical products such as ovens, refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, telephones, routers, game consoles and computers. It mainly restricts three major types of flame retardants, chlorine, bromine and phosphorus. If these flame retardants are found, they need to pay a specific tax amounts, based on the product type, to the Swedish government.

In addition, Sweden has recently upgraded the corresponding taxation units of products.

Product Type Examples Previous Tax Amount New Tax Amount
White Goods Refrigerators, Dishwashers, Vacuum cleaners, Microwave ovens, etc 8 kr/kg
11 kr/kg (equivalent to approximately 8.1 yuan/kg)
Others Video console, Sound and video recording equipment, Ddata processors, Specific displays, etc 120 kr/kg 160 kr/kg (equivalent to approximately 117.2 yuan/kg)

The maximum taxation for a single product is increased from no more than 320 kr/product to 440 kr/kg (equivalent to approximately 322.4 yuan/kg). The weight of the taxable product is the net weight of the product, excluding the weight of the product packaging and instructions.

SGS recommends that companies investigate the flame-retardant content in their products as early as possible in order to comply with the tax reduction policy and respond to Swedish law enforcement investigations.


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