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Machinery industry provides impetus to support public action

Wednesday, 30 Nov 2011 ( #542 ) - Brussels, Belgium
News Story
The Market Surveillance Joint Industry Support Platform was launched at a conference hosted by the European Commission (EC) in Brussels last week.

Targeted at market surveillance authorities and market operators, the platform consists of a resource database to assess the compliance of equipment with relevant European Union (EU) regulatory requirements ( News #536).

"The platform’s aim is to act as a resource database through a single access point for Market Surveillance Authorities and also market operators like importers and distributors. FEM is among the founding partners of this initiative, which shows that the industry is not just complaining – it is also taking action," says European Materials Handling Federation spokesman (FEM) Olivier Janin.

The platform, designed specifically for machinery (the capital goods market), is a joint initiative of seven European trade associations from the machinery industry: the Committee for the European Construction Equipment; European Association of Machine Tool Industries; European Weighing Industry Association; European Agricultural Machinery Association; Europe’s Association for Plastics and Rubber Machinery Manufacturers; European Materials Handling Federation; and European Engineering Industries Association.

It reflects the industry’s commitment to play an active role in improving market surveillance of machinery.

Janin told News in October that market surveillance must ensure equipment placed on the EU market is compliant with various regulatory requirements. "[The] reality is that there are more and more non-compliant products placed on the EU market, posing safety and environmental threats and creating unfair competition, with negative effects on compliant countries and the jobs they provide."

The 24 November conference held at the Albert Borschette Conference Centre in Brussels, Belgium offered 10 key recommendations for effective market surveillance in a manifesto that was signed at the event.

Speakers from different machinery sectors explained how a deficient market surveillance system has a negative impact on competition, environmental protection, innovation, jobs, and workplace health and safety. The European materials handling industry was represented by four panelists: FEM president John Meale, Philippe Cohet from Manitowoc Crane Group, FEM former president Ambrogio Bollini and Mr Hänel from Hänel Gmbh & Co KG.

The conference also provided an opportunity to consider solutions to improve the situation. The EC’s Directorate General for Customs and Customs Union showed the central role that customs authorities must play to prevent imports of non-compliant products.

The industry has repeatedly stressed the importance of market surveillance and is committed to working with the authorities to provide assistance, whether in the form of technical support, like the newly launched platform, or by alerting them on non-compliant machinery entering or circulating the market.  However, legally, it is up to the member states to carry out market surveillance to ensure the products on the European market respect the relevant rules and regulations.
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