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EU machine-makers want end to deadlock on policing of imports

10 February, 2014

The EU machinery industry is warning that its competitiveness could suffer seriously as a result of the EU’s continued failure to introduce a better market surveillance system to prevent the entry and circulation of non-compliant products in the Union.

It adds that continuing discord between EU member states on another topic – the marking of origin – has “paralysed” any further progress on the draft Regulation on the Market Surveillance of Products (MSR), so that the chances of the proposal being adopted in the current parliamentary term (which ends in April) are now “virtually zero”.

Filip Geerts, a spokesman for an alliance of European trade organisations involved in the machinery sector, warns that “our industries are the collateral victims of a political deadlock in the Council on a subject that is actually not related to market surveillance. Meanwhile, non-compliant products in the Single Market continue to harm industrial competitiveness.

“This not only holds back industry’s growth potential, but also harms users’ safety, the environment, as well as progress to meet the EU’s energy and climate targets,” he adds. “This is an unacceptable situation in light of the fact that it comes only days after the European Commission’s Communication on an Industrial Renaissance was meant to make industrial competitiveness a top EU priority.”

According to the alliance ­– which includes the trade bodies Cece, Cecimo, Cema, Euromap and FEM – restoring a level playing field in the Single Market through improved market surveillance will enable a shift from competition based on price, to competition based on quality, reliability and resource-efficiency. It adds that this is a pre-requisite for the success of Europe’s high-value-added industries in the face of global competitive pressures.

Geerts: an unacceptable situation

Despite the fact that the European Parliament’s internal market committee adopted its report on the MSR proposal in October last year, member states have not managed to agree on a common negotiation position. This is due to a fundamental disagreement over the marking of origin – a provision included in the draft Regulation on General Product Safety (GPSR).

Because the MSR and GPSR proposals were bundled together in a single legislative package, progress of the MSR depends on member states reaching an agreement on this provision.

If negotiations do not resume, the European Parliament is likely to vote on the dossier in plenary in April 2014. However, warns the machinery alliance, a lack of agreement between member states will make it extremely difficult to find a compromise between the two co-legislators. In the best case, the adoption of the proposal will be deferred to the end of 2014.

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