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In spite of the difficult economic context and an increased competition in the global markets, the European pulp, paper and board industry remains a world leader and a net exporter as well as the provider of 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs in Europe.
EU markets have been fully open since January 2004, unlike some competitors in their home countries. 40% of EU paper and board exports face tariff barriers! The sector is seeking a level playing field for both its products and its raw materials through multilateral and bilateral negotiations and high level talks with EU trading partners. Free access to pulp and paper and board foreign markets, but also raw materials and energy is a must.
Fair competition is also vital to the European pulp, paper and board industry and its workers, who need to see unfair trade practices such as dumping and subsidies, protectionism and discriminatory measures fought. A strong set of trade defence tools is crucial to ensure, when necessary, the rapid implementation of efficient trade defence measures and restore a level playing field for our industry and workers. Strong support from the EU Commission is required in order to secure international trade rules and WTO obligations as well as bilateral agreements are well implemented by all EU trading partners and WTO members.
The opening of the foreign markets has to be achieved primarily through multilateral negotiations in WTO, by reflecting the recent developments that have seen emerging countries like China, Brazil or Indonesia turning into global industrial leaders.
As multilateral agreements require long negotiations and sustained efforts, a better access to foreign markets, raw materials and energy markets should be sought through the conclusion of ambitious bilateral trade agreement negotiations with a view to supporting the re-industrialisation of Europe and to promote the principles of fair trade. These negotiations should contribute to the suppression of tariff barriers as well as non-tariff barriers, and aim at regulatory convergence.
Plurilateral negotiations should also be encouraged as they can offer a pragmatic way to further liberalise trade while achieving other goals, such as the completion of ambitious climate change and environment protection targets. The European Social Partners in the pulp, paper and board sector are of the opinion that, due to their sustainable nature, all pulp, paper and board grades should be considered as environmental goods and therefore fully included in the environmental goods list currently being negotiated.
Pulp, paper and board are based on renewable raw materials originating from sustainable sources and are recyclable. They contribute directly and indirectly to environmental protection, climate action, green growth and sustainable development. They are manufactured by an industry that has substantially reduced its footprint on the environment, while reaching high social standards.
At the core of the bio economy, is the production of not only the original bio-based product - paper and board, but also new and innovative products that can substitute for fossil fuel-based products through the efficient use of renewable raw materials.
Allowing the European pulp, paper and board industry to compete on a level playing field at global level should be the aim of EU trade strategy as it is the best way to secure EU’s competitiveness as well as investors’ long-term commitment to Europe and create jobs and growth!
A landmark study by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released last week reveals that if the EU grants Market Economy Status (MES) to China, the EU could lose 3.5 million jobs and 2% of GDP. Read AEGIS Europe press release here.
CEPI is a member of the AEGIS alliance. Follow AEGIS on Twitter @AEGISeurope
Industrial policy is back! European paper industry strongly welcomes European Commission’s renewed focus on industrial policy
Today European Commissioner Bieńkowska presented to the European Parliament her views on a new industrial policy for Europe. The Commissioner has done this in a new and refreshing approach, by sending a letter to the member states instead of yet another Communication from the Commission. The policy builds on the 20% industrial GDP target set by the former Commission.
“European industrial competitiveness is at the heart of the policy agenda of the European Commission”, said the Commissioner in the European Parliament today.
The new approach will mainstream industrial policy perspectives in all EU Commission policies launched by this Commission. The aim is to break down the silos in the Commission and really integrate the Commission’s work, in a partnership between business and policy makers.
“We feel the Commission has understood that industry is at the heart of European growth. That it provides real jobs to real people and that we have the potential to grow industry in Europe” said Marco Mensink, Director General of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI).
CEPI welcomes the new High Level Group on Energy Intensive Industries that Commissioner Bienkowska has initiated. This will focus among other on the upcoming debate on the market economy status of China and the review of the EU Emission Trading System. Both are crucial files for the future of the paper industry in Europe.
The review of the EU ETS will be the first proof of the mainstreaming approach. "The EU ETS review is the single largest industrial policy decision for this Commission.” says Marco Mensink. “We look forward to an ETS proposal that combines a focus on carbon reduction and breakthrough innovation with a proper protection of all energy intensive industries. The European Council in October last year decided that the best companies in the energy intensive sectors such as the pulp and paper industry should not face undue carbon costs. The Commission shall now put this in practice in the EU ETS proposal that will be launched July 15th”.
For more information, please contact Annie Xystouris at firstname.lastname@example.org mobile: +32(0)486243642.
Note to the Editor
The pulp and paper industry provides 180,000 jobs in Europe directly, and 1.5 million in the value chain. It has a turnover of 75 billion euros and adds 15 billion euros to the EU GDP. It is strong in export markets and will invest 5 billion euros in Europe up to 2017.
The Alliance for a Competitive European Industry groups 11 major European industry sector associations (including CEPI) and BUSINESSEUROPE.
The common objective of its members is to promote the competitiveness of European industry on a global scale and to help address Europe’s transformation towards a sustainable and low-carbon future.
The Alliance members account for:
• 23 million jobs
• 1.3 million companies (more than 3/4 of which are SMEs)
• €5.7 trillion turnover annually
• 10.7% of EU GDP
The EU manufacturing industry accounts for about 20% of European GDP. But industry’s strategic importance is far greater because it accounts for 1 in 5 jobs and it is at the very heart of both innovation (with 80% of all R&D expenditure) and global competitiveness (with 75% of exports). Europe needs a vibrant industry to spark the innovation and growth required to meet the societal and environmental challenges that lie ahead.
Europe’s political leadership, including the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member State governments has acknowledged the exceptional role of industry. Each of these institutions has repeatedly declared that a strong and competitive industrial base is a key factor for achieving a knowledge-based, safe and sustainable low-carbon resource-efficient economy with substantial manufacturing employment.
We call on the political leadership to develop a long-term industrial policy that would establish favourable, stable, consistent and predictable conditions to help businesses to invest, to promote excellence, innovation and sustainability and to ensure we meet the European Commission’s goal that industry’s share of GDP should be as much as 20% by 2020.
CEPI launched its PACT with EU policy makers, a call for cooperation with the Juncker Commission. It underlines the industry’s 5 billion euro investments in Europe in the next 3 years and the strong need for adequate policymaking to enable this.