Standardisation urgency’ for construction products

On 2 February, the European Commission published the EU’s Strategy for Standardisation. The Commission clarifies the need for standardisation to be more agile and flexible in order to deliver on the green and digital transition. To support the decarbonisation of the construction sector, the Commission commits to promoting the development of standards supporting low-carbon cement identified as ‘standardisation urgency’. Also, together with standardisation organisations, the Commission will work on solutions to accelerate the development of standards – a process which often takes years and hinders innovation.



EU refers China to the WTO due to discriminatory trade practices against Lithuania

On 27 January 2022, the European Union launched a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the People’s Republic of China over practices, which appear to be illegal and discriminatory under WTO rules, against Lithuania. These actions target both Lithuanian exporters and products with Lithuanian inputs exported from other EU Member States. Attempts to resolve this issue bilaterally have failed.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, stated that requesting WTO dispute settlement consultations with China was a decision which was not taken lightly and that the EU would act swiftly against measures adopted by third countries that threaten the integrity of its Single Market.

The Commission has built up evidence of the various types of anti-competitive practices adopted by China against Lithuania, which include several barriers to imports. Accusations of anti-competitive practices on the part of the Chinese against the EU or its Member States are not a new trend. For example, China has been accused of closing its procurement market to European companies.



Machinery Products Regulation – FIEC sends its “wish list” to the European Parliament

On 31st January, FIEC has shared its voting recommendations with the IMCO Committee of the European Parliament, which is in charge of the revision of the Machinery Directive (into a Machinery Products Regulation).
The amendments supported by FIEC aim at improving the current legislation from the perspective of the final users. In particular, the goals are to allow the implementation of innovation into machineries (i.e., digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence) while safeguarding the highest possible level of safety for the operators, as well as ensuring full transparency on the functioning of machineries (i.e., access to information and software at all times during the life-time of the machinery).
Another key issue for which FIEC proposed a compromise amendment is the definition of “substantial modification” of the machinery. Here, FIEC would like to avoid that any upgrade or modification that is undertaken by a construction company (in order to adapt the safety of the machinery to specific needs, and which has no impact on the Essential Health and Safety Requirements / EHSRs) could be considered as a substantial modification and subject to third party assessment.