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Cerame-Unie welcomes EU Commission Communication on raw materials


07 Feb 2011


Trade & Society

On 2 February, the Commission presented its long awaited Communication on commodity markets and raw materials. The document contributes to the Europe 2020 flagship initiative ‘A resourceefficient Europe’. Cerame-Unie welcomes this strategic vision to tackle the challenges particularly in the field of raw materials.

The ceramic industry covers a wide range of products going from brick & roof tiles, clay pipes, wall & floor tiles, over sanitary ware and table & decorative ware to abrasives, refractory products and technical ceramics. These sectors cover applications for construction, high temperature processes, automotive, energy, environment, consumer goods, mining, shipbuilding, defense, aerospace, medical devices and many more. Ceramic sectors are characterised by their dependence on both domestic and imported raw materials.

Accordingly, Cerame-Unie strongly supports the European Commission in its aims to further strengthen the EU’s trade strategy on raw materials. Furthermore, it welcomes the Commission’s contribution to improve, together with the Member States, the regulatory framework for sustainable extraction within the EU. Speaking on behalf of the European ceramic industry, Renaud Batier, Managing Director of Cerame-Unie, stated that “a strong and focused policy to improve access to raw
materials is essential to maintain the competitiveness of ceramic industries”.

Looking at imports, the European refractory industry in particular is highly concerned by a number of trade distortions such as export restrictions on crucial raw materials. In this respect Cerame-Unie supports the on-going WTO panel proceedings against Chinese export restrictions on certain raw materials, including amongst others bauxite and silicon carbide, and calls upon the Commission to
take similar steps for other raw materials such as magnesia.

Equally important is the improvement of the regulatory framework for sustainable extraction within the EU. A key priority is therefore the encouragement of Member States to define a national minerals policy and to elaborate a land use planning policy including long term estimates for regional and local minerals demand. Furthermore, the ceramic industry fully supports the aim of the Commission to put in place a clear authorisation process for exploration and extraction.

The European Ceramic Industry covers a wide range of products including abrasives, brick & roof tiles, clay pipes, wall & floor tiles, refractory products, sanitary ware, table & decorative ware, technical ceramics. It accounts for more than 220.000 direct employees and a turnover of € 25 billion within the EU.

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