Press release: The European machine tool industry supports transatlantic regulatory cooperation

16 February 2015

The 8th round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that took place in Brussels from 2 to 8 February produced significant progress. CECIMO welcomes the strong commitment of both the European Commission and the government of the United States to intensify the trade talks and aim for an ambitious and comprehensive agreement.

Today, machine tools in value of about 2 billion euros are shipped annually over the Atlantic. The regulatory cooperation, that brings two legal environments closer, will lead to reduced costs and increased trade for advanced manufacturing equipment, the key to producing globally competitive high value-added products. Initial provisions for the regulatory cooperation chapter include a regular open meeting for stakeholders, allowing them to make concrete suggestions for further regulatory cooperation under the TTIP. “We are glad to read about the proposed stakeholder consultation obligation that allows the regulatory requirements to take into account changes in technologies and business models,” stated Filip Geerts, the Director General of CECIMO.

CECIMO supports the position of the European Commission to target technical requirements, standards and conformity assessment more in detail in the TTIP’s chapter specific to engineering. The United States are an active member of several ISO working groups for machine tools, including the working group ISO/TC 39/SC 10 on machine tools safety. The international standards should provide a straightforward way to meet the technical regulatory requirements both in Europe and in the United States at once. The two economies have a strong commitment to the most modern and highest standards of health and safety in the field of machine tools.

The European machine tool industry is dominated by SMEs who export about 50% of their production outside the EU. Companies getting involved in international trade and investment have to meet a number of additional requirements and procedures. Those can constitute serious obstacles for the SMEs who lack resources to conduct thorough research. CECIMO therefore welcomes the initiatives to help SMEs in their trade activities under the TTIP. Setting up a website where companies can find all the information they need to export to, import from or invest in the US can facilitate trade and greatly lower the uncertainty and costs incurred by SMEs.

While recognising the significant progress made during trade talks, CECIMO continues to stress the importance of addressing non-tariff barriers in the final agreement. “Facilitating trade flows in advanced manufacturing equipment and services will have a direct positive impact on the modernisation of the industrial tissue in both countries and on their global competitiveness,” concludes Jean Camille Uring, the President of CECIMO and Executive Board Member of Fives Group.

CECIMO is the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries. We bring together 15 national Associations of machine tool builders, which represent approximately 1500 industrial enterprises in Europe*, over 80% of which are SMEs. CECIMO covers 98% of total Machine Tool production in Europe and about 39% worldwide. It accounts for almost 150,000 employees and a turnover of nearly €23 billion in 2014. Approximately 80% of CECIMO production is shipped abroad, whereas more than half of it is exported outside Europe*. For more information visit *Europe = EU + EFTA + Turkey

For further media enquiries:
Contact Filip Geerts, Director General
Tel +32 2 502 70 90 / Fax +32 2 502 60 82