The two global nonwovens associations, EDANA and INDA announced they are joining efforts to promote the free and fair trade of nonwovens globally starting with an active role in the upcoming US-European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement negotiations. As a start, EDANA will volunteer nonwovens for “fast track” elimination of the current 4.3% tariff on nonwoven imports into the EU from the US. There currently are no tariffs on EU nonwovens coming into the US.
“A large number of our member companies operate globally today or will in the near future. Creating a level playing field on tariffs will benefit them greatly as they expand globally,” says Dave Rousse, INDA president.
“For the good of the industry and as a matter of policy, EDANA believes in free and fair trade and is willing to volunteer for elimination of the current tariff on nonwovens coming from the U.S. And there are a number of other countries with high tariffs on nonwovens that we can address as well,” says Pierre Wiertz, EDANA general manager.
Responding to the rapidly expanding global nature of the nonwovens industry, the associations will work together to aggressively advocate policy changes that will enhance nonwoven trade between countries. To help guide their efforts, EDANA and INDA will form an International Trade & Trends Advisory Board (T&T Board) composed of Governmental Affairs representatives from both associations and include representatives from each association’s member companies.
Besides tariffs, this group will also work on a proper classification of nonwovens for trade purposes. Most, but not all nonwovens, as defined by the global industry with reference to ISO 9092, are currently classified under section XI (Textiles and textile articles), chapter 56, heading 56.03 of the Harmonized System. This classification is grossly outdated, inadequate and insufficiently flexible. In many countries, textiles are an important industry, which has historically requested customs duties to protect domestic manufacturers. However, some of these countries do not have a robust nonwovens industry to protect, yet nonwovens get snared in the protective tariff policy. As a result, a separate trade classification of nonwovens, in their own category or as an engineered fabric, will be another objective of the T&T Board.
“INDA and EDANA member companies represent a large share of the world’s nonwoven output. By working together, we can help our members’ business as well as support the growth of the entire nonwovens industry,” says Wiertz.
“Though we have worked closely together over the years on a variety of issues, I am particularly excited about this deeper coordination of our efforts to expand nonwoven trade globally,” says Rousse.
In other news, the two organizations announced they are partnering to co-organize a new edition of EDANA’s Outlook conference program for Latin America sometime in early 2015.
Outlook Latin America is being organized as part of EDANA’s Outreach program, which has been designed to provide high-quality information, conferences and networking events to the global nonwovens and related industries, particularly outside Western Europe. Outlook Latin America will build on the decade-long success of the Outlook conferences, including the recent expansion into Asia a conference held in Singapore in March 2013.
“With the International Monetary Fund’s positive outlook on the Latin America region, we are confident that the nonwovens industry there will welcome the opportunity to showcase its investment and capabilities,” says Wiertz. “Both INDA and EDANA are focused on supporting our member companies as well as local businesses to improve the business and regulatory environment, and to diversify exports."
“We are delighted to partner with EDANA to reach beyond traditional Western markets and conduct a meaningful event in the southern half of our hemisphere,” says Rousse. “Latin American producers of nonwovens for the personal care market represent an important element of INDA’s base. By partnering with EDANA, it enables us to both market the event to our bases, which will highlight the importance that both associations attach to this growing and dynamic market.”
The Outlook conference series is directly aimed at the producers and converters of nonwoven materials and their related industries for personal care products and wipes. With 11 editions in Europe and its first edition in Asia Pacific, the series has attracted more than 4,000 participants from across the globe.