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ITA takes bilateral path on tariffs in Europe, China

Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 ( #558 ) - Washington, DC, United States
News Story
James Moran
The Industrial Truck Association (ITA) is pursuing bilateral possibilities in dealing with troubling tariff issues in Europe and China.

"Free or fair trade is something the association has been striving to achieve for several years," says ITA chairman James Moran in his state-of-the-association remarks.

ITA, unfortunately, was unable to reach a multilateral agreement with its partners in the Alliance of Industrial Trucks Organizations (AITO).

"Therefore, we have decided to take a bilateral approach," Moran reports. "To address the tariff issues in respective regions of the world", ITA is working directly with the industrial truck section of the Brussels, Belgium-based European Materials Handling Federation (FEM) and the Beijing-based China Industrial Truck Association (CITA).

Moran says the FEM president sent "a letter to the European Commission expressing the industry’s position to eliminate the tariffs imposed on lift trucks coming into the EU". "Additionally, FEM has requested a meeting to address these issues in person and to help demonstrate their commitment to this important matter."

In China, "we have also now begun to work directly with CITA on a program to eliminate the tariffs imposed on us in China", Moran told ITA members during the association’s 19-21 March membership meeting in a Washington hotel.

Recently, representatives of ITA and CITA met in Beijing "to discuss a number of topics – but this was on the top of the list", he says. "We were told in the coming weeks that CITA will be meeting with its management committee and will be requesting that they address the tariff issue."

Moran expressed appreciation to ITA member LiuGong Machinery Co Ltd of Liuzhou, China and its ITA board representative, Dave O’Dell, for assisting ITA during the Beijing trip.

AITO was established in 1998 and is composed of the management committees of the participating associations. Another AITO member is the Tokyo-based Japan Industrial Vehicle Association.

Communications, statistics, training

ITA leaders have reviewed the association’s communications strategy.

"This includes internal and external communications (such as websites, e-newsletters, webinars), media and public relations as well as building or strengthening partnerships with organisations to support the overall mission of the ITA," Moran says.

An ITA statistical committee task force is reviewing the security and reliability of the technology that drives the association’s statistical reporting program, he observes. "The statistical program run by the ITA provides us with very valuable market intelligence, and protecting the infrastructure of that program should be one of our highest priorities."

ITA continues its compliance officer training program and, at the request of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, plans during May to conduct seminars in Kansas City, Missouri and Des Moines, Iowa.

Attendees heard brief presentations from Jeff Mueller of Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America for the general engineering committee; John Maxa of Crown Equipment Corp for the lawyers committee; Payman Shabback of Toyota Material Handling USA Inc for the statistics committee; Mark Kemper of Cascade Corp for the suppliers committee; and Octavian Dragasanu of BT Canada/Johnston Equipment Inc for the Canada committee. The Canada committee holds its own meeting in June in Guelph, Ontario.

Moran identified several new ITA associate members including Arrow Material Handling Products, DFK America Inc, Eaton Corp, Gann Products and Productive Plastics.

ITA maintains a healthy reserve fund and, through several measures, was able to reduce its 2012 budget while maintaining member services, Moran says. "The association is financially sound, and we expect this to continue for years to come."

Brian Feehan, ITA president, says 125 people attended the Washington meeting. ITA is based in Washington.
ITA will hold its annual membership meeting on 29 September-1 October in Williamsburg, Virginia.

ITA represents the manufacturers of forklifts and other materials handling equipment and their suppliers who do business in Canada, the US or Mexico.
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