Posted on 27/11/2018 in category Legislation

BIR outlines concerns over Bulgaria’s proposed second-hand clothing tax

The Bulgarian Ministry of the Environment & Water is continuing to promote its proposal for a tax or fee on imported second-hand clothing. BIR, among others, believes such a move would harm consumers in Bulgaria as well as damage the Circular Economy in other EU Member States.

Bulgarian ParliamentIvelina Vesselinova Vassileva, Chairperson of the Bulgarian Parliament’s Environment & Water Committee, hosted a meeting on October 25 to discuss the taxes or fees on second-hand clothing that have been proposed by the Bulgarian Ministry of the Environment & Water.

Among the invited participants were Sevdalin Spasov, President of the Bulgarian Association of Recyclers and Traders of Second Hand Clothes (ARTSHC), who was joined by Vladimir Dimitrov of the Bulgarian Association of Recycling Industry in speaking against the imposition of any tax or fee on second-hand clothing. BIR Trade & Environment Director Ross Bartley also spoke against the proposal (click here for extract of BIR statement).

Several participants, including the representative of New Textile Manufacturers and some Bulgarian Parliament members, spoke against waste imports into Bulgaria. Representatives of New Textile Manufacturers, of the Municipalities and of the Bulgarian Association of Recyclers (BAR) supported a tax or fee on second-hand clothing whereas several Bulgarian Parliament members from the BSP opposition party were cautious about agreeing to the Ministry’s proposal.

A Bulgarian expert and advisor to the Ministry/Government spoke about Extended Producer Responsibility and cited the French system. Whilst no-one spoke about taxes or fees on new clothing, it was pointed out that the Ministry of the Environment & Water had not carried out a proper consultation and that no cost-benefit analysis had been conducted to support the proposal for a tax or fee on second-hand clothing.

Ms Vassileva concluded by not immediately accepting the proposal of the Ministry of the Environment & Water.

This issue first arose in May 2018 as the Bulgarian Government started procedures to change its waste management law, including the introduction of a fee for all second-hand clothes put on the local market, potentially under Extended Producer Responsibility. Subsequently, a “Workshop on the Bulgarian Eco-Tax on Second Hand Clothing” took place at the BIR London Convention in October 2018, which was followed up by the Statement by the Bulgarian Association of Recyclers and Traders of Second Hand Clothes. (Read more here)