EU may ban imports of 'dirty' batteries

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

The EU is trying to make its battery industry greener, but this may come at the expense of some trade.

The European Union may ban imports of batteries from various locations around the world if they do not meet rigorous new green standards.

This is according to the European Commission's vice-president Maros Sefcovic, who explained the bloc is working on new environmental targets as part of the European Battery Alliance (EBA) and wants to ensure these standards are adhered to on new products coming in from elsewhere.

In particular, battery imports from south-east Asia could be under threat and excluded from the European market if they do not meet criteria ranging from the sustainability of their raw materials to the cleanliness of the energy used in their construction, EurActiv reports.

"We clearly have to do what other economies and markets are doing. The work on standards is important: if you want to sell here, you have to respect our standards," Mr Sefcovic commented.

The EBA was formed in October 2017 with the aim of creating a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe and beyond.

This is based on the idea that, while demand for batteries is growing rapidly thanks to electric vehicles and other new technology, the materials needed for them are being extracted at a high environmental cost.

Furthermore, there is the challenge of recycling the 11 million tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries expected to be discarded around the world by 2030.

The EC warned in 2017 about the risk of being dependent on battery cell imports and is now running a series of schemes designed to create a more sustainable battery industry as part of its Important Project of Common European Interest.

This and Mr Sefcovic's latest comments may mean firms involved in trading batteries worldwide need to keep an eye on regulations and restrictions going forward.