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Time’s Up: Recyclers ask WTO to find solution to unblock electronic safety features on auto parts

London, Ontario — Vehicle recyclers are calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to peruse legal solutions and best-practices recommendations that eliminate the harmful practices of vehicles and components manufactured to electronically block the re-use of parts, and the Automotive Recyclers (ARC) of Canada are among those calling for action.

A proposal has been composed by FORS Association from Poland in cooperation with several other vehicle recycling associations from around the world, to the WTO.

The signatories include: AAD (Andalusian Association of Dismantlers, Spain); ABCAR (Associacao Brasileira De Reciclagem Automotiva, Brazil); ARA (Automotive Recyclers Association, the U.S.); ARC (Automotive Recyclers of Canada); BVSF (British Vehicle Salvage Federation, the U.K.); EGARA (European Group of Automotive Recycling Associations, Europe); FORS (Polish Car Recyclers Association); JARA (Japan Automotive Recyclers Alliance); MUVATA (Malaysia Used Vehicle Autoparts Traders Association); Suomen Autopurkamoliitto r.y (Finland’s Dismantlers Federation); VRA (Vehicle Recyclers Association, the U.K.)

This proposal is expected to highlight the problems vehicle recyclers face when it comes to electronic security features on vehicles, and how if dismantlers had access to unlock these features, there would be the possibility to re-use more parts.

The proposal is calling for the WTO to look at legal solutions to eliminate ‘harmful practices of vehicle and component manufacturers to electronically block the re-use of parts.

Vehicle recyclers are appealing that consumers and car operations can have electronic security unblocked free of charge so that removed parts can be used in other vehicles

More and more vehicles contain parts supported by electronic systems, and the vehicle recycler removes reusable parts once the vehicle enters the ATF, but often cannot be reused due to the manufactures electronic lock. Therefore, without the manufacturer’s consent, such a part cannot be reused.

Vehicle recyclers are aware that without this security it can be open to abuse from the left and illegal operators, which is the case for most things electronic. But still, it does pose a problem to legal operators as this prevents them from reusing parts.

“Recyclers strongly believe that to protect the environment and promote the sage re-use of spare parts, such as practices should be eliminated. Currently, without a manufacturer’s consent, electronically encrypted spare parts cannot be reused,” the proposal states.

Taking into account the formal reasons why manufacturers have introduced such measures, these protections effectively prevent legally operating Authorized Treatment Facilities from re-using such parts (manufacturers thus become monopolists in providing all services related to the re-use of such spare parts) In addition to creating unnecessary waste, such practices effectively restrict the consumers’ access to low-cost parts.”

The recyclers collective formal position can be summed up in simple recommendations of supporting unrestricted access to free disassembly of security feature with a provision that such parts can only be reused if their origin is properly documented (the document issued by a legal entity should include the VIN of the original vehicle).

This solution will have the following positive outcomes. The first solution is to mitigate the risk of grey-market practices. Secondly, improve the reuse of recyclable spare parts from Authorised Treatment Facilities, and cost benefits for consumers so they can have easy access to low-cost parts. Lastly, the most important outcome is the environmental impact, reduced production requirements for new spare parts.

The recyclers who signed the proposal, hope that the WTO undertake actions that will benefit both consumer and companies to prepare parts for reuse, in compliance with existing regulations.

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