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UNIFE alarmed by decision to award UK Intercity Express Programme (IEP) to Hitachi


03 Mar 2011


Trade & Society


This situation provides Japanese companies with an unfair advantage when responding to tenders in Europe, and is unacceptable. With no competition to face in their home market, such companies are then able to submit highly competitive offers in EU countries, and are supported by the Japanese government to do so.


UNIFE and its member companies supply more than 50% of the worldwide production of rail equipment and services and strongly favor global market opening initiatives. However, we equally consider that reciprocity is a pre-requisite for fair competition. The rail industry cannot accept that European markets are increasingly opened to other countries’ suppliers while their home markets remain closed to Europeans.


UNIFE calls European governments to put an end to such an unbalanced market situation. In this respect, UNIFE Director-General Michael Clausecker stated: “The decision to accept the Hitachi bid weakens the European position vis-à-vis Japan and shows the lack of interest of some governments to support Europe’s industrial base in the fight for open markets and against unfair trade practices.”


UNIFE also notes that under the existing WTO agreements, Japanese firms do not enjoy any legal right to participate in procurement procedures in the field of railways. European entities may therefore exclude Japanese bidders under the provisions of the existing European Directives on public procurement. The UK Government chose not to do so despite the Japanese insistence on maintaining a closed market to reciprocal opportunities for European rail suppliers.


Click here for the corresponding statement of the UK government.


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UNIFE represents the European Rail Industry in Brussels since 1992. The Association gathers 73 of Europe’s leading large and medium-sized rail supply companies active in the design, manufacture, maintenance and refurbishment of rail transport systems, subsystems and related equipment. A further one thousand suppliers of railway equipment partake in UNIFE activities through 15 national rail industry associations. UNIFE members have an 80% market share in Europe and supply more than 50% of the worldwide production of rail equipment and services.


UNIFE represents its members’ interests at the level of both European and international institutions. On the technical side, UNIFE works on the setting of interoperability standards and coordinates EU-funded research projects that aim at the technical harmonisation of railway systems. The association is one of the supporting bodies of the European Railway Agency.


UNIFE. Promote rail market growth for sustainable mobility.                    



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