Tuesday 22nd November 2016

Progress of Environmental Goods Act (EGA)

Further to the last Newsletter update, John Morton, Peter Brun and Sam Ayyash of John Crane/Smiths all attended the latest Geneva meeting of EGA representatives from 21 – 23 September on behalf of ESA. This effort is very much appreciated by ESA, as is the ongoing support of Chris Swonger in USA.

A summary would suggest good support for Sealing Devices from both EU and USA, but some serious resistance from Australia, and Costa Rica, with Norway, Korea, and Japan difficult to read.

A meeting was held with Andrew Martin, who is chair of the working groups, and he seems positive. He certainly has agreed to highlight any workgroup objections and allow ESA/FSA respond to specific objections. He is concerned at some serious trade conflicts between EU and China that may create some difficulties (for example EU’s refusal to cut tariffs on bicycle parts).

The objectors to sealing products have some strong concerns. Dual use, especially in Oil industry is an issue, but delegates agree even the oil industry needs high quality seals to avoid pollution! Dual use in the automobile industry is another objection, as is the concern over rubber products under some HS codes.

There is a suggestion that the best way forward maybe using “ex-outs” (sacrificing some contentious HS codes to allow key ones to remain in EGA). The view is that it is better to have some Sealing Device HS Codes agreed rather than none, then work over time to either reclassify ex outed codes to a different code or campaign to have them added to the list of approved Sealing Devices. ESA/FSA approach is to insist all HS codes are included.

Another representatives working session was in Geneva on 17th October, and the next with Trade Ministers meeting was in Oslo, Norway on the 21-22nd October, then again probably in China. The situation is expected to become clearer soon and the target is still to get global principle deal before President Obama leaves office!

HS Codes and Market Data

Partly to evaluate available world trade data, and also in response to EGA issues over certain HS codes for Sealing Devices, we have been evaluating HS codes, and if there is mileage in considering reclassifying certain products. For example Braided Packings with the connection to cloth fibres/textiles are seen as at risk in the EGA negotiations.

The export data based on HS codes has shown that some codes for seals clearly include other devices that inflate the export trade values way beyond the values we believe represent only seals.

We have decided to set up a working group to review options for Sealing Device HS codes, to evaluate the benefit, or otherwise, of changing some codes. Henri Azibert (Colleen Dupuis, Garlock) and Sam Ayyash of John Crane are members of this group. European volunteers are Dick Pronk, Eriks, and Christine Cooper and Mark Horton from Flexitallic.

David Mitchell, Standard and Legislation Director


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Progress of Environmental Goods Act (EGA)


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