We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Siem Eikelenboom please sign in and let everyone know.

Dear European Anti-Fraud Office,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

In March and April 2015 OLAF investigated the claim that solar panels shipped from Taiwan and Malaysia to the EU were actually not from Taiwan and Malaysia but from China. Because of the anti dump regulations (that were in force at the time) import from China without an extra levy was not allowed.
OLAF made two reports of this missions, reports that were used in various legal proceedings in Dutch courts. One (about the mission to Malaysia) is dated March 31 2015. Another one (about the mission to Taiwan) is dated April 21, 2015. I'd like to have a copy of these reports.

In my opinion these reports can be made public because 1 the anti-dump rules are not longer in force and 2 the modus operandi of OLAF was made public in the Dutch legal procedures. See:

Mission Report March 31th 2015 to Malaysia
“1. Purpose of the mission
The purpose of the mission was to investigate the alleged evasion of anti-dumping and countervailing duties applicable on imports into the EU of solar panels originating in or consigned from the People’s Republic of China (hereafter: China).
In 2014, OLAF was informed by the Dutch customs authorities that anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on imports of solar panels originating in or consigned from China were suspected of being evaded via Malaysia. It was alleged that Chinese producers have set up or were using intermediary companies in Malaysia to re-pack solar panels, or simply to change the container and ship the products concerned to the EU. The consignments were supplied with certificates of Malaysian preferential (GSP) and also non-preferential origin.
(…)
Based on the information provided at that stage to OLAF by Member States, a list of such consignments imported into the EU was compiled by OLAF for presentation to the Malaysian authorities during the mission and in order to request the Malaysian authorities to already carry out some initial enquiries on these consignments in the ZB1 Import (hereafter: ZB1) and ZB1 Export database (hereafter: ZB2) and/or other databases (K1, K2 and ZB4). A list of these 14 consignors is attached as annex 01 to this report.

The main task of the joint EU mission team was therefore to examine, together with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (hereafter: MITI) whether the abovementioned consignments of solar panels imported from Malaysia qualified for non-preferential Malaysian origin and, if not, to establish the real origin of the solar panels. If it was established that the solar panels originated in or were consigned from China, evidence was to be collected with a view to enabling the EU Member States to recover from the EU importers the anti-dumping and countervailing duties evaded.
2. Mission activities
(…)
MITI was asked to provide a comprehensive list of genuine Malaysian producers of solar panels, including the dates on which the production by these companies had started. The list provided by MITI did not appear to be exhaustive and did not contain any starting dates (annex 3). It was explained that licences for solar panel producers were issued by another Ministry and that it would be difficult to obtain an accurate, complete and up-to-date list. No further information could therefore be provided by MITI.
(…)
3.1.1 Information provided by the Port Klang Authority
The Port Klang Authority manages the FCZ in Port Klang. All the goods entering into or departing from the seaport in Port Klang physically move via the FCZ. Therefore, any transshipment of cargo also passes through this area. In addition, any form of manufacturing activity is prohibited in the FCZ. No origin-conferring manufacture or processing can thus take place in the FCZ and goods transshipped via the FCZ in Port Klang retain their origin. The goods entering the FCZ in Port Klang from overseas are recorded in the ZB1 register. The goods departing for overseas from the FCZ in Port Klang are recorded in the ZB2 register. (Whereas, goods imported or exported directly from the Principal Customs Area of Maleysia are not to be recorded in the ZB1 and/or ZB2 registries. They are recorded in the K1 (import) and K2 (export) customs registries).
If transshipped goods leave for overseas from the FCZ in Port Klang, the shipper is obliged to lodge a ZB2 declaration in which the number of the corresponding ZB1 declaration has to be specified. Consequently, if goods are registered in both the ZB1 (import) registry and subsequently in the ZB2 (export) registry, they were merely transshipped and retained their origin.
(…)
According to the declarations made to the Port Klang Authority, the solar panels originated in China (see column ‘origin’) were classified under several subheadings of CN code 8541. The consignors registered in the ZB2 (export) data appear not to be the same as the consignors/exporters of the solar panels declared on importation to the EU. In Malaysia most of the ZB1 and ZB2 declarations are performed by agents or other representative companies (…), therefore their names will appear instead of the names of their customers. A direct match between the Malaysian consignor declared at importation of the solar panels into the EU and the ZB2 consignor is therefore impossible in most cases.

OLAF matched the ZB1 (import) data, i.e. the solar panels shipped from China to the FCZ in Port Klang, with the ZB2 (export) data, i.e. the solar panels dispatched from the FCZ in Port Klang to the EU and other destinations, mainly Taiwan. The matching was done through the ZB1 reference number. The matching of consignments of solar panels from and to Taiwan was done because it was suspected that containers containing solar panels originating in China were transshipped via Malaysia to Taiwan and from there on to the EU or were double transshipped via Malaysia (…). This concerns both consignments shipped from China directly as well as consignments shipped from EU Member States to Malaysia with destination Taiwan as well as consignments shipped from Taiwan.
(…)
OLAF then combined and compiled all these extracts concerning consignments of solar panels into three lists (see annexes 05, 06 and 07). These lists will be forwarded to the Member States in electronic format (Excel spreadsheet)”

In de “list of annexes” staat: “Annex 5: “ZB1/ZB2 data exports to the EU (electronic format)”
(…)

“3.2. Conclusions
Based on the information and documents provided by the Malaysian authorities, it was established that 686 unique containers loaded with solar panels as listed in annex 05 originate in or were consigned from China. This list contains the ZB1 and ZB2 data in relation to products under tariff heading 8541 exported to the EU for the period 01.06.2013 to 27.10.2014. These solar panels were shipped from China to the FCZ in Port Klang and, after reloading, were consigned to the EU. They were not subject to any processing or manufacturing activity in the FCZ in Port Klang.”
(…)
3.2.2 Matching with EU imports on master list
OLAF matched the consignments of imported solar panels already communicated by Member States with the relevant ZB1 and ZB2 data. This concerns data on consignments for which it has been established that the solar panels are originating in China (ZB1 data) and had been declared for export to the EU (ZB2 data). The consignments communicated by the EU Member States were compiled in one master list containing a total of 525 containers. The matching was carried out based on the container numbers. As a result, OLAF could so far match in total 176 containers (…) for the following member states:
(…)
Mission Report April 21ste 2015

“(…)
1. Purpose of the mission
On 14.09.2014 (OLAF reference THOR(2014)24960) OLAF formally requested the Taiwanese authorities, via the Taipei Representative Office in Brussels, for assistance concerning the suspected transshipment of Chinese (People’s Republic of China) solar panels via Taiwan. By email dated 14.10.2014 (OLAF reference THOR(2014)28837) OLAF was informed by the Taipei Representative Office that the Bureau of Foreign Trade (hereafter BOFT) and Taiwanese Customs had agreed to meet the joint EU mission team from 17 to 21.11.2014. (…)
The objectives of the mission were:
1) the collection of the evidence on the suspected transshipments of Chinese solar panels via Taiwan which should be available at the Taiwanese Customs authorities;
2) the analysis of data from import and export databases held by Taiwanese Customs and the matching of this information with import data provided to OLAF by the Member States;
3) to visit a selection of Taiwanese companies that had been identified as suppliers of solar panels to EU importers in order to determine their role in these operations and to collect the necessary evidence of the suspected transshipment of Chinese panels via Taiwan territory.
2
Mission activities
(…)
The representatives of the BOFT confirmed that company visits had been arranged for the following five companies:
- [D BEDRIJF] . LTD (…)
-[C BEDRIJF] (…)
(…)
-[G BEDRIJF] Corp. (…).
It was further explained that the BOFT had contacted the company [E BEDRIJF] ., LTD (…) to agree on a visit of the joint EU mission team, but that the company had declined this proposal.
(...)
Taiwanese Customs confirmed the fact that no processing activities were permitted in the Free Trades Zones and that the import of Chinese solar modules and cells into Taiwan was strictly forbidden. Transshipment of such goods is allowed through free zones and bonded warehouses. The customs procedure to be followed is as follows:
(…)
-import into a bonded warehouse (storage in a logistics center): customs declaration L1
-export from a bonded warehouse: export declaration D5
(…).

3
Results
(…)
3.1.
General
On the occasion of a visit by Taiwanese Customs to OLAF between 24 and 27.11.2014 an excel file (including imports and exports) was handed over to OLAF that covers transshipment data (linked import-export records for the Free Trade Zone) (Annex 3). (…) Annex 3 is a detailed overview of the consignments imported from the PR China and the corresponding re-exports. The following details are mentioned in the original Taiwanese data:
 Date of export declaration
 Export declaration number
 Customs regime
 Country of destination
 Taiwanese exporter
 Buyer (destination)
 HS code
 Commodity description
 Quantity, unit and weight
 FOB Value
 Export container number
 Reference of import declaration (is obligatory in the export declaration and via this number the export is linked to the import)
 Reference of import item
 Date of import declaration
 Taiwanese import declaration number
 Customs regime
 Country of origin
 Chinese seller
 Item
 HS code
 Commodity description
 Quantity, unit and weight
 Import container number
(…)”

Yours faithfully,

Siem Eikelenboom
investigative reporter Follow the Money (Netherlands)

OLAF-FM-D2@ec.europa.eu, European Anti-Fraud Office

Dear Mr Eikelenboom,
 
Thank you for your request of 22 January 2021 for public access to
documents.
 
Unfortunately you have not indicated your postal address that is required
for registering and handling your request in line with the procedural
requirements.
 
Please send us your full postal address at your earliest convenience.
 
Pending your reply, we reserve the right to refuse the registration of
your request.
 
 
EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF)
Directorate  D – General Affairs
Unit  D.2 – Legal Advice
Rue Joseph II, 30 • B-1000 Brussels (Belgium)
[1]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
Our policy regarding personal data protection can be viewed on
[2]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...
 
 
 
 

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Dear [email address],

My postal address is:
S. Eikelenboom
Van der Weijpad 22
3815 XR Amersfoort
The Netherlands

Yours sincerely,

Siem Eikelenboom

OLAF-FM-D2@ec.europa.eu, European Anti-Fraud Office

Dear Mr Eikelenboom,

We refer to your request for access to the documents dated 22/01/2021.

Your application is currently being handled. However, we will not be in a position to complete the handling of your application within the time limit of 15 working days.

Therefore, we have to extend the time limit with 15 working days in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation (EC) N° 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents. The new time limit will expire on 08/03/2021.

We apologise for the delay and for any inconvenience this may cause.

Yours sincerely,

EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF)
Directorate D – General Affairs
Unit D.2 – Legal Advice
Rue Joseph II, 30 • B-1000 Brussels (Belgium)
http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
Our policy regarding personal data protection can be viewed on http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...

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Dear [email address],

Up till now you have not responded on my request for reports of missions to Taiwan and Malaysia. By law you should have reacted bu February 12, 2021.

Is it possible to respond as soon as possible?

Yours sincerely,

Siem Eikelenboom

OLAF-FM-D2@ec.europa.eu, European Anti-Fraud Office

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Eikelenboom,
 
Please find enclosed a reply to your application for public access to
documents.
 
Due to the current exceptional circumstances, OLAF will not send you a
copy of the attached reply by registered post. Therefore, we kindly
request you to acknowledge receipt of this email.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
 
 
 
EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF)
Directorate  D – General Affairs
Unit  D.2 – Legal Advice
Rue Joseph II, 30 • B-1000 Brussels (Belgium)
[1]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
Our policy regarding personal data protection can be viewed on
[2]http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...
 
 

References

Visible links
1. http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
2. http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...

Siem Eikelenboom

Dear European Anti-Fraud Office,

Please pass this on to the person who reviews confirmatory applications.

I am filing the following confirmatory application with regards to my access to documents request 'Reports of missions to Taiwan and Malaysia'.
My first request was Jan 22th 2021. I never received an answer. Not even a conformation that my request was received!!!!

Is it possible to react on my request???

A full history of my request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/repo...

Yours faithfully,

Siem Eikelenboom

OLAF-FM-D2@ec.europa.eu, European Anti-Fraud Office

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    Re access to documents request Reports of missions to Taiwan and Malaysia.txt

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    LJAM 4109 reply.pdf

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Dear Mr Eikelenboom,

We refer to your e-mail of 12 May 2021 by which you inform us that you are filing the following confirmatory application with regard to your access to documents request 'Reports of missions to Taiwan and Malaysia'. You also report that you had not received reply to your initial application of 22 January 2021 or even a confirmation that your request was received. In this regard, you refer to full history of your request and all correspondence available on the Internet at this address:
https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www....

We note that you submitted your application for public access to documents via AsktheEU by message of 22/01/2021. You have lodged your application via the AsktheEU.org website. OLAF acknowledged receipt of your request on 25/01/2021 (attached). However, as you have not indicated your postal address, which is required for registering and handling your request in line with the procedural requirements OLAF asked you to submit it. Pending your reply, we reserved the right to refuse the registration of your request. You submitted your postal address on 5/02/2021 (attached). On 15/02/2021 OLAF sent you a holding reply and on 5/03/2021 the reply to your application (attached). You were also informed that in accordance with Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, you were entitled to make a confirmatory application requesting OLAF to review its position. Pursuant to Article 4 of Commission Decision 2001/937/EC, ECSC, Euratom10, such a confirmatory application should have been addressed within 15 working days upon receipt of that letter to the Director General of OLAF.

Please note that AsktheEU is a private website, which has no link with any institution of the European Union. Therefore, OLAF cannot be held accountable for any technical issues or problems linked to the use of this system. Nevertheless, all the above-mentioned correspondence with you is on the website AsktheEU you referred to. You also confirmed that it has full history of your request and all correspondence.

Against this background, OLAF cannot treat your request as a confirmatory application and will close the file.

Yours sincerely,

EUROPEAN COMMISSION
EUROPEAN ANTI-FRAUD OFFICE (OLAF)
Directorate D – General Affairs
Unit D.2 – Legal Advice
Rue Joseph II, 30 • B-1000 Brussels (Belgium) http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud Our policy regarding personal data protection can be viewed on http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/about-us/...

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Siem Eikelenboom please sign in and let everyone know.