TTIP – NEMA/Orgalime joint position – one small step for man, one giant leap for TTIP

Posted by Orgalime on 04/11/14

Following our first visit to discuss TTIP issues in September 2013 with our US counterparts, US regulators, standardisers and certifiers, on 21-24 October, Orgalime organised once again a mission to Washington DC with representatives of our member associations from different countries and different branches of the industry we represent – electrical, electronic, mechanical engineering and metalworking.

The reasons for our visit were multiple – to formally adopt our joint NEMA – Orgalime position paper on TTIP and to discuss further steps to take, to meet again a number of the regulators we had met the previous year (Department of Commerce, OSHA and USTR), to participate in the OSHA NRTL stakeholder meeting and finally to meet other contacts such as AEM, AMT and ANSI.

If last year, our main purpose in coming to Washington DC had been to gain a better understanding of the core issues which are on the table and the views of our counterparts at the outset of the TTIP process, since then we have aimed at bridging the differences in approach between our organisations, while knowing that there is significant commonality in the outcomes we seek; this is hardly surprising given the considerable overlap in membership of our companies, many of which are moreover global players.

Over the last year, we have worked hard to raise awareness on the considerable weight of trade in engineering products between the EU and the USA: on the EU side, as is shown by the recently published negotiating mandate given to the European Commission (somewhat akin to the US TPA), this was necessary. Notwithstanding the fact that the trade in engineering products is a major part of trade between the EU and the US, there was no mention of engineering.

It is true that the diversity of products, processes and systems covered by our industry is vast, which therefore makes it difficult for trade negotiators to handle, in particular as the main barriers are in the area of regulation, conformity assessment procedures and standards, but this is where we believe the real gains are to be made for our companies. And as the competitiveness of the US and the EU as manufacturing sites is permanently under pressure from economies enjoying cheaper labour or other inputs, so the focus on technology to stay ahead of the game and on reducing unnecessary barriers and costs towards creating a larger ‘home market’ base become all the more important.

What we therefore wanted first of all to ensure is that our regulators and industry partners understand each other’s’ systems and talk about the same issues in the same terms: building collaboration on the basis of hearsay or limited knowledge is something of a challenge. A year after our first visit, we believe we are on the way to achieving this but must go on.

This is one of the reasons why three of our members were pleased to speak at OSHA’s NRTL hearing and more participated in the hearing after which we also had the privilege of having further discussions with OSHA.  We must thank NEMA for facilitating this and for helping us through this to allow US regulators to gain a better understanding of our system and us of the US system. Now on our return we are talking to EU regulators to update them and to entice them to go on building the bridges that are needed to achieve a worthwhile outcome for TTIP.

A further issue for us over the past months has been to try to reinforce our voice as the representative of our industry and its views: at the request of the European Commission we therefore published a rather lengthy and detailed position paper where, besides covering horizontal issues such as customs procedures, tariffs, dual use goods, etc., we went into much more detail on areas specific to our industry. After comparing US and EU approaches, we gave our view on how progress could be made in reducing unnecessary barriers to trade and therefore costs in areas such as machinery safety, electrical safety, pressure equipment and equipment used in explosive atmospheres. We wanted to do this as we believe such proposals should come from manufacturing industry representatives. Indeed, we have been struck by how much still needs to be done to make sure that the voice of industry is heard above that of other interested parties who tend to speak for our industry, while, we feel, sometimes focusing rather too much on their own interest.

Now what next? We were interested during our first visit to discuss with NEMA of the agreement reached between MITA and COCIR. Other engineering industry sectors have also done the same, for example AEM (US agricultural machinery and construction equipment industry), CECE (EU construction equipment) and CEMA (EU agricultural machinery).

Now we have gone the same way by agreeing a common position between NEMA and Orgalime which is wider, more horizontal in its approach and covers the whole area of regulatory coherence as well as the area of standardisation.  Our aim is now to see how many others we can bring on board our joint Orgalime – NEMA position to paper to reinforce the messages of our industry that, besides the low hanging fruit which should be fairly easy to include in a TTIP agreement, we are ready to work on building bridges in the area of regulatory objectives, standardisation and conformity assessment. We count on NEMA to ensure that US regulators clearly hear the voice of our industry on these issues.

We know that agreement between regulators on both sides of the Atlantic will not be easy: we are talking of two of the world’s largest economies, with complex and mature regulatory frameworks; so, there are inevitably differences in approach which are born from history. But fundamentally we share the same values and we both aspire to high standards, just as you might expect. We therefore remain convinced that tackling regulatory divergences between the EU and the US will equally benefit businesses of all sizes and increase transatlantic trade flows. It will also help us both on world markets to achieve our common objective for global market access on the basis of ‘one standard, one test, accepted everywhere’.


EU & US Industry associations step where the Regulators so far dare not!

Posted by Orgalime on 28/10/14

[See the Video Position]

The transatlantic trade and investment relationship continues to account for the largest economic relationship in the world, and the EU and the US economies account together for about half of the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows.

Orgalime and NEMA believe there is a great potential to strengthen further EU-US trade and investment relations to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness on both sides of the Atlantic. Therefore, we stand ready to assist negotiators in finding ways to increase trade and investment between the two regions.

Tackling regulatory divergences between the EU and the US will equally benefit businesses of all sizes and increase transatlantic trade flows. Currently the lack of regulatory convergence forces companies to invest time and resources in duplicative procedures in order to demonstrate compliance.

The future EU-US agreement should therefore develop processes and mechanisms to achieve regulatory coherence, both at the EU-US and at a global level. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an opportunity to adopt transparent procedures that would ensure coherence and streamlining of requirements in both existing and future legislation.

In this context, we emphasise that when ISO and IEC include products serving the markets in the EU and US, and neither unfairly favors or disadvantages either, they should remain the preferred standardisation platforms to ensure compatible standards not only between the EU and US, but also with third countries. We believe that the systematic use of or, at least, alignment with international standards from ISO and IEC would provide an excellent path for the reduction of technical barriers to trade between the EU and US.

The overall goal of businesses on both sides of the Atlantic is to achieve global market access on the basis of ‘one standard, one test, accepted everywhere’. As the ultimate goal, this would mean having fully transposed international standards, without regional or national deviations, that are applied globally.

Open Letter to the European Council 23/24 Oct 14

Posted by Orgalime on 21/10/14

President, Hon. Heads of State and Members of the European Council,

Orgalime, the European engineering industries association, whose members’ annual turnover is some 1800 billion euro and which employ over 10 million staff in the EU, is writing to you to urge you to adopt of an integrated European 2030 Energy and Climate Change Framework at the occasion of the European Council meeting on 23/24 October 2014.

Such a decision is urgently needed to encourage investments into innovative areas of cutting edge technologies that will pave the way towards Europe´s future low carbon, energy efficient economy with higher levels of energy independence, greater security of supply and overall sustainability of the energy system.

We believe that a binding EU 40% lead carbon target, coupled with EU-level commitments for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources beyond 2020, will provide a new impetus for sustainable growth and jobs in Europe and will overall boost the competitiveness of EU industry.

We particularly welcome the fact that the Commission has now closed the gap in its initial 2030 Framework proposal with a 30% energy efficiency target*, which we consider as both, feasible and reasonable, provided that the right instruments for implementation are put into place.

Indeed, if Europe wishes to deliver on its carbon target, control energy prices, increase the integration of renewables into its energy system and become world leader in this area, action inevitably needs to go hand in hand with energy efficiency and the development of an integrated energy system, including interconnected infrastructures. Increasing the efficiency of equipment, which is often reaching its technical limits, will not suffice. The challenge is to better exploit the energy savings potentials at system and market level, which requires a future energy retail model that facilitates greater involvement of energy end users and distributed generation in a truly consumer-centric, competitive energy market.

This can only be achieved through instruments, such as the governance process, the Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives rather than through further product regulation under the Ecodesign Directive or its pending review, which risks breaking today´s delicate balance between cost efficiency, environmental improvement, product functionality and affordability.

To conclude, we call upon European regulators to set in place a robust 2030 Energy and Climate Change Framework in support of the EU´s Industrial Policy, and particularly the overall aim to reach a 20% share of
manufacturing output in the EU’s GDP by 2020.

Considering the international dimension of this debate, we encourage the EU to make the necessary efforts to obtain a global and legally binding climate agreement at the UN-FCCC in Paris in 2015. It is essential that other regions of the world show a comparable degree of ambition and take similar action.

Yours faithfully,

Sandro Bonomi

President, Orgalime

* Previously, Orgalime felt that a 40% energy efficiency target should be set considering the 2050 perspective. We consider the suggested
30% as a step in the right direction, which should be supported, while we ask for maintaining a forward looking, proactive attitude.

Posted by Orgalime on 24/04/14

I found this and thought I should share on Blogactiv!

10 Common Blog Writing Mistakes (Infographic)

So why is manufacturing so important in Europe?

Posted by Orgalime on 17/04/14


Maybe the answers to this question and indeed all those posed below can be found at


One market for all?

The European Union is built on the idea of a single European market, allowing free movement of goods, services, persons and capital – directly benefitting every EU citizen, family and company. A properly functioning single market would help European companies become more competitive in today’s fast changing, globalised market. But the EU’s single market is far from complete. Rules vary between member states, with extra requirements often added to EU rules.

How can European policy makers complete the single market across the EU and make it truly one market for all?

A supportive labour market?

European Manufacturing is facing a significantly changed and ever-developing global environment, creating not only major opportunities but also significant competitive pressures. In today’s EU, manufacturing companies face higher international competition than most other sectors. Competitors outside the EU have lower labour costs and much less regulation. If we want to secure and build European employment, we have to maintain and strengthen European manufacturing’s international competiveness with the help of dynamic labour markets.

How can European policy makers create the right local, national and EU-level policies and regulations for a supportive labour market?

Win-win-win environmental laws?

We all accept Europe needs to continue its transition towards a low-carbon, resource efficient and sustainable future. Our industry plays a leading role in this (r)evolution, with the innovative products, systems and technologies we’ve produced through significant, long-term investments. Europe’s environmental laws have to be fairly balanced and stable, producing a win-win-win for not only the environment, but also European manufacturing’s international competitiveness and so European workers and employment.

How can European policy makers ensure win-win-win environmental laws?

Balanced energy policy?

EU energy policy aims to balance environmental goals with international competitiveness, jobs and growth.
But while Europe moves towards its ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions 20% by 2020, European manufacturers are weighed down by much higher energy costs than our rivals, damaging competitiveness and so European workers and jobs.

How can European policy makers develop a more balanced energy policy?

Smarter R&D?

European manufacturing relies on appropriate, targeted investment in research and development (R&D) to stay competitive in today’s global market. The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme is a positive step, bringing R&D and innovation together under one common initiative for the first time.But, important opportunities still exist to properly focus research on industry’s real needs, simplify the system and better link regional, national and EU-level actions.

How can European policy makers promote smarter R&D?

Modernised Infrastructure?

Modern infrastructure drives industrial competitiveness, economic growth and so job creation and prosperity. Like other industries, European manufacturing needs such infrastructure to help it remain competitive in today’s fast- changing, global market. The EU has recently outlined wide-ranging plans to modernise Europe’s infrastructure by 2020, including energy, transport, e-health and digital interconnectivity. But in realising these plans we face real obstacles like limited financing, public opposition and long, complex permit procedures.

How can European policy makers deliver modernised infrastructure?

Finance that works?

The European Commission’s new industrial policy concentrates on public sector funding and reinforcing access to international capital markets. Welcomed as this is, European manufacturing companies’ day-to-day business mainly rely on bank credit, something which has become progressively more difficult to access and expensive. In parallel, larger organisations, including governments and institutions, are paying invoices late. This particularly affects suppliers, many of which are SMEs.

How can European policy makers help provide finance that works?

Bridging the growing skills gap?

Today’s dynamic, global market is driven by constant and rapid advances in technology. European manufacturing companies face an ever-increasing challenge to have the right people with the right skills in place to best compete and grow. Despite high levels of unemployment, manufacturing companies across Europe still have unfilled vacancies. This skills gap will only widen without strong cooperation between industry and education to produce proper lifelong learning and education and training systems matched to real labour market demand.

How can European policy makers effectively bridge the skills gap?

Manufacturing – only you can make more of it!

Will the European Institutions listen to the messages from EBS13?

Posted by Orgalime on 17/05/13

These are challenging times for Europe and for the manufacturing industry. “Unresolved public and private financial imbalances within the EMU and the subsequent decline in business confidence are now leading to low demand for engineering products in the EU” is how Orgalime reported this ‘impasse’ in November 2012. Indeed, it has been a number of years that we in Orgalime have been warning policy makers that Europe was not on the right track for providing growth and jobs. As the industry which supplies capital goods to all other sectors of the economy, we have seen the signs of low investment in Europe in the internal market. As with all things that come to a head, politicians are at last waking up to what is happening.

We are of course grateful that, at a political level, our message is beginning to be heard and understood. For the first time in Brussels, this is at the highest level, since Commission President Barroso voiced his clear support for our industry when he attended our event in the European Parliament, during our General Assembly, where we launched a joint manifesto ‘Manufacturing a Stronger and Greener Europe’ with our sister organisation, CEEMET. It has been well received and was a timely answer to the Commission’s Communication on re-industrialising Europe.

Obtaining recognition at the political level in Brussels is, however, just a start. It is only just over a year ago that, in a joint letter to Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy, twelve Heads of State and Government suggested that in terms of priority areas for growth in Europe, “action should start in the services sector” with industry being hardly mentioned. Now the Heads of State have, for the first time, decided to hold two specific debates on industrial policy and industrial competitiveness in June this year and in February 2014.

And then will come the hard part: implementing those reforms which are needed to make Europe a more attractive place for manufacturing investment. Our manifesto gives clear indications of what needs to be done. It will however be rather difficult for many governments and indeed for the European institutions as a whole to move away from business as usual – printing regulation, much of it ill-conceived and punishing for industry. This has become a habit and only now are regulators beginning to understand the cumulative impact that this is having on manufacturing and therefore the wider economy. This is rather late given the horrendous reality of unemployment in much of Europe and particularly youth unemployment: in several EU member states 30-40% of school and university leavers who are unemployed and in a few other countries this is even higher. Other countries of course are in better economic health.

If we are pragmatic, we cannot expect that the European taxpayer is going to provide extensive funding whether at national or European level to boost the European economy. We have been hoping to a see a shift of spending towards more investment in innovation, in modern technological infrastructures all of which would provide a boost to jobs, but old habits – die hard: the agricultural sector although it employs relatively few people today is still considered as the strategic sector by a number of governments. Therefore more efforts will have to be made to ‘re-industrialise’ Europe through other avenues and this means creating the right framework conditions which will incite manufacturing investment in the EU and allow companies to grow, generate a profit and employ more staff.

Extracts from our manifesto explain what we are seeking:

• The cost of doing business needs to be reduced

• Investment and operating conditions in Europe need to be improved

• A supportive framework is needed to keep a full industrial supply chain

• High-tech infrastructure modernisation must be fostered , thus facilitating the early adoption of new technologies in Europe by implementing a policy framework which promotes competition, investment and innovation in these markets

• Regulation must really aim to ensure the right framework for more growth, jobs and investment: policies must be goal-oriented without prescribing technologies; the impact of new regulation on companies and the cumulative impact of regulation must be thoroughly assessed in advance; regulation must be more stable and predictable and also reflect investment cycles; ex-post evaluation of implemented legislation must be the standard

• There must be better market surveillance, adopted regulation must be respected – not only that: policy adopted must be followed

• A more welcoming attitude towards manufacturing investment

Maybe, just maybe, we should all pull together in order to market ourselves better – it appears that our image is sometimes portrayed in some quarters, in a rather outdated manner. After all whilst our technologies are there to solve tomorrow’s problems (as well as those of today!), we are proving that we can indeed combine the jobs and prosperity required by our citizens whilst still respecting the environmental and ecological needs that our fragile planet demands of us. The engineering industries in Europe in particular, have probably contributed more to ‘greening’ the planet than we are given due credit for.

A last word on this to underline what we mean: a CEO from our industry recently commented that when he was looking at where to site a new production facility in Asia, an ambassador from one of the countries he was considering travelled up to his company offices here in the EU to discuss with him what the country’s government could propose to attract the investment there. When first considering the alternative – investing at home, the welcome given to him by the local authorities had first and foremost included the list of regulations and restrictions to respect and permits to be obtained. There are no prizes for guessing where the investment was made. We will not stop companies from investing close to their markets abroad – clients often expect it – but we must never forget that Europe is the first market in the world and that our industry’s success is based on this and on our exports.

“Green single market for green growth”: neither good for consumers nor for manufacturers

Having reviewed the Draft Commission Recommendation on the use of Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) methods, both Orgalime and ANEC are extremely disappointed that, notwithstanding their joint opposition to the draft proposal, the Commission should once again have opted for yet more big brother ‘voluntary’ regulation.

Orgalime sees this proposal as representing an unreliable tool for creating demand for better and greener products in the EU, while it risks exposing companies to unfair competition and to market distortion as consumers would base their buying decisions on misleading information.

ANEC too has been a persistent critic of the value of environmental footprint information, whether from a methodological perspective, or the perspective of consumer understanding, and maintains that information to consumers based on the LCA approach – at the centre of PEF/OEF methodologies – should be rejected and neither supported nor promoted by the European Commission or member states.

Although principles such as clarity, credibility and reliability, identified in the Commission Communication, are values shared by consumer organisations and the engineering industry, the proposed methodologies cannot serve to apply these principles. Information to consumers should be based on robust, measurable and verifiable indicators, elaborated product group by product group, in collaboration with stakeholders.

ANEC Secretary-General, Stephen Russell, commented: “Environmental Product Declarations are useless for consumers as they do not allow for the reliable identification of environmentally-superior products. They are based on questionable methods and lack meaningful benchmarks and rating scales. Real world cases of LCA studies – such as nappies and packaging – have already shown that the results of an environmental assessment based on LCA depend on subjective choices. Moreover, statistical uncertainties inherent in the data are likely to make the identification of superior products almost impossible anyway”.

Concluded Adrian Harris, Orgalime’s Director General: “It never ceases to astound me how the institutions can one day adopt proposals aimed at enticing manufacturing industry to invest in Europe and to contribute to much needed re-industrialisation, and the next come up with yet more bureaucratic proposals, which will be prohibitively heavy to apply for our small companies and no doubt achieve the opposite result. It really is time to snap out of this business as usual mode”.

Methodology for the calculation of the environmental footprint of products, services and organisations with a view to assess, display and benchmark their environmental performance based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach

European manufacturing offers way out of austerity – ‘Manufacturing a Stronger and Greener Europe’

Posted by Orgalime on 03/12/12

Orgalime and CEEMET have responded to the Commission’s recent Communication ‘A stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery’ with their joint manifesto ‘Manufacturing a Stronger and Greener Europe’, which was presented to the European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso at an event attended by industry, MEPs and EU officials (28 Nov 12). The manifesto contents could actually provide the necessary impetus to restore faith in the European project.

“The European Commission recently sent a clear message stressing that industry is vital to the economic recovery and that the industrial output must grow to reach 20% of GDP. Our manufacturing sectors are critical to the European economy, employing 13 million people. We have listed in our joint policy manifesto a number of core issues for our industry, where we believe improvements will indeed help to ensure a stronger and greener manufacturing economy in Europe”, comment CEEMET and Orgalime Director Generals Uwe Combüchen and Adrian Harris.

Yes, Mr. Barroso, look at the ‘state of the Union’!

Posted by Orgalime on 13/09/12

We fully agree with you that new thinking is needed. We cannot go on with business as usual.

Thank you for your words today on how successful Europe’s engineering industry is in a globalised world. Indeed, our industry which employs over 10 million people in Europe is a world leader. Why? Because our companies are dynamic and focused: they thrive on innovation developed with capable staff who invest their knowledge into developing the new products which give their companies their fine competitive edge. This is the fruit of hard work and in the past has been much helped by a supportive framework – the internal market – which allowed our companies to grow in Europe.

The British Olympians had 17 days of sporting triumph at the recent London 2012 game; however that triumph was a decade in the making. Success was instilled through foresight and through hard work together across the board to make the Olympics a success for each and every athlete.

We should be approaching the European economy in the same light: we need to have a policy framework which again makes Europe a place which attracts investment and thereby creates jobs, not, as we have been seeing in the last years, a string of disjointed policies which just add to the complexity, the uncertainty and the cost of “made in Europe”. And it is the Commission which can and should be the driver behind this framework.

So, please go beyond the rhetoric and get down to having the Commission as a whole work together to remove the barriers that are currently deterring companies from investing in Europe and stopping them what has been at the root of their global success and Europe’s economic development – making in Europe products and technologies which our customers need and want both in Europe & worldwide.

We agree with you Mr. Barroso that not everything can be a priority at the same time: surely today, getting people back to work must be the priority for Europe. And our industry has proven that we do deliver jobs and growth under the right conditions. The opportunity is there: the Commission’s industrial policy review must change the course of policy and steer the European ship as a whole in the right direction. It must seek to deliver for Europe’s manufacturing base.

What do we need fundamentally? An attractive investment framework in the EU: staff with the skills our companies need, better access to finance both on the capital markets and with banks, input costs which are globally competitive, modern infrastructures, an internal market which is fully operational, better trading conditions and also regulatory and policy stability and predictability.

In his 2011 State of the Union speech, President Barroso asked if Europe was really capable of achieving growth and creating jobs. As an industry we know that our companies can make it and we believe we can do it in Europe, but not with the policies and regulation that Europe is delivering today. Let’s hope that in 2013, the final year of this Commission we will have seen some real change for the better.

‘The Smart World’ – Electra II Report Solutions proposed by Europe’s electrical engineering industries

Posted by Orgalime on 18/04/12

On the 24th April in Hannover, the follow-up to the Electra report – launched in June 2008 – will presented to Commission Vice-President Tajani.

In ‘The Smart World’, the electrical engineering and electronics industry represented through Electra aims to

a) briefly analyse the results of the first Electra report, looking at those areas where progress has been achieved and at those where more needs to be done
b) outline the changes that have arisen following the 2008-2009 economic crash
c) re-examine the challenges at societal level that Europe faces today.

For more information and a free ticket to the Hannover Fair on 24th April, register and attend the Electra launch!

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The European Engineering Industries Association – Manufacturing Matters more.