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Important request for input for upcoming negotiations of the FTA with US

On the 12th of December, CECIMO met several officials from the DG Trade of the European Commission to discuss the upcoming Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the US. Based on the discussed, the negotiations will focus on non-tariff barriers, rather than tariffs. The scope of this agreement will be limited to industrial goods and services and machinery is a key sector.

US is one of the main export markets for CECIMO. Therefore, to better defend the interests of our industry, we need to take an active role in these negotiations by providing:

  • A set of priorities to ask from US, with the explanation why it is needed.
  • A simple and comprehensive set of trade barriers encountered by us when trading with US and the objectives for this trade agreement.

Particularly, we need to provide the negotiators with concrete examples on the following topics (the list is not exhaustive):

  1. Rules of origin. What are the methods we use to establish the rules of origin in practice? Do we have alternative rules (value added/ change of heading etc.), or a mix of these rules? What are the methods for different existing free trade agreements (with different countries outside EU) and why we do choose one over the other?
  2. Our requests on conformity assessments. Can we perform conformity assessments in the US according to EU rules? How do we want these conformity assessments to take place?
  3. Certification. Is certification a lengthy process? Are component certifications taken in account? What are the costs and paper work associated with this process? Do we encounter double certification issues?
  4. What is the level of mutual recognition for machine tools between our manufacturers and the US? Up to what extent are we aligned with the ISO Standards? Do we already use US standards?

Please note that we need tangible examples with the financial and administrative costs involved (time spent) with these trade barriers. We need to provide the Commission with explicit measures that create for us administrative burdens and how we overcome them. Otherwise, these aspects will not be tackled and we will be left out of this process of paramount importance.

The deadline for your contributions is January 25th.

In case you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to contact me or my colleague Olga (olga.chilat@cecimo.eu).