CECIMO’s Reaction to the Data Act

23 February 2022

Today, the European Commission released the Data Act Proposal with an aim to ensure fairness in the data economy and foster data exchange among businesses. The proposed act leads to a strategic approach and a legislative framework in B2B data sharing relationships.

CECIMO, on behalf of the machine tool industry and related manufacturing technologies, is committed to raise awareness about the importance of manufacturing data sharing given the essential role data plays in driving innovation and digital transformation and creating new services and business models.

CECIMO welcomes and therefore supports the European Commission's ambitious goals of releasing underused industrial data in Europe for the benefit of all.

The European Commission aims at developing an autonomous and growing data economy where data-sharing at the European level should be encouraged and improved while guaranteeing secure and trustworthy relationships in business-to-business data access and data sharing. Namely, the objective is to develop a data economy where data relationships are defined under the FRAND-conditions (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory).

We support the Commission’s intentions to improve the European Strategy for Data and the content of today’s proposal on the Data Act reflects the will to give the European companies an univocal legislative framework.

In order to achieve the announced policy objectives and enable the implementation of data-sharing we wish to bring forward the following considerations:

  • Higher attention towards Trade Secrets Protection is needed in the proposal to break down the barriers due to uncertainty and theft’s fear.
  • The role of industry representatives should be central in defining the model contractual terms, which are currently foreseen by the proposal but could be improved. In order to foster and ensure interoperability among different cloud service providers, it is important to set up economic incentives and support for data access and reuse between businesses.
  • The importance of establishing a European data space should not hinder the relationships and agreements with other economic players outside the EU. Therefore, enhanced attention, in legislative terms, should be reserved to international data transfers, especially with the US.
  • Industrial ecosystems and big installations are not taken into account in terms of data-sharing balance.  In the proposal, there are no provisions for the free data access and use by the small players that participate to production in a closed industrial environment, thus leaving a higher negotiation power to bigger actors.

Manufacturing is one of the industries that uses applications like industrial IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies at their full potential. Therefore, we believe that cooperation and data sharing between the advanced manufacturing sector across the EU is of strategic importance, central to supporting economic growth and technology development, says Filip Geerts, Director General of CECIMO. He added that this approach could lead to a more tailored legislative framework that could eventually ensure the use, protection and traceability of data generated or co-generated by SMEs and improve the productivity of industries.

Our goal is to contribute to developing a secure and efficient data economy, which will contribute, among other things, to foster the comprehensive application of industry 4.0 technologies such as Industrial IoT and Artificial Intelligence uptake of industrial processes, thus preserving the European global leadership in advanced manufacturing.