Two leading plastics associations, Euromap and U.S.-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., are presenting a united front amid free trade negotiations between the European Union and the U.S., which they hope will benefit the plastics machinery industry.
Against a backdrop of ongoing talks regarding EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnerships (TTIP), the two groups have signed a declaration of intent on free trade within the industry which could strengthen their competitive position in the global marketplace and help to safeguard the industry's 65,000 jobs.
The European and American plastics machinery markets account for 50 percent of the global market with sales totaling 15 billion euros ($20.3 billion) according to a joint statement by Euromap and SPI.
"The TTIP is a milestone in terms of cooperation in our sector, and this should have a very positive impact on our business relationships,” said SPI CEO Bill Carteaux.
Tens of thousands of jobs could be created in Europe and the U.S. across the whole machinery-manufacturing sector, according to Euromap and SPI, which are seeking the complete dismantling of tariffs to provide a boost for export sales of machinery.
“TTIP presents an opportunity not a risk,” said Thorsten Kühmann, secretary general of Euromap, countering objections that have been raised regarding TTIP.
The groups urged politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to do more to promote TTIP among the population.
They are aiming to harmonize safety standards in plastics machinery produced in the EU and the U.S., and have already set up international (ISO) working groups. “This will improve operating safety and simplify deliveries of machinery, which, in turn, will save time and effort and boost competitiveness,” they said.
Euromap and SPI are highlighting the need for political representatives in the EU and the U.S. to give greater consideration in their talks to the interests of the machinery manufacturing industry, which is largely made up of medium-sized enterprises.
“To date the requirements of these companies have been largely ignored, although at 13 percent of total EU exports to the U.S., machinery manufacturers account for a greater share than the motor industry,” the groups said.
In March, EuPC, the European group of plastics converters, issued a statement expressing its support for TTIP and saying it wanted removal of tariffs for both the US and EU for plastics raw materials.