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Brussels, 15 October 2009 Participants of the workshop representing research institutes, industry associations and NGOs discussed with the European Commission (DG Trade, Enterprise, Environment and Development) the EU raw materials policy. NGOs present are mainly active in the environment and development fields. Key raw materials sectors supplying inputs to manufacturing sectors such as chemicals, metals, iron and steel were represented. In his opening presentation, Mr Paul Anciaux, Coordinator for the Raw Materials Initiative, (Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, European Commission) explained how the Raw Materials Initiative proposes an integrated strategy to face the different internal and external challenges related to access to raw materials. This Raw Materials Initiative is based on three pillars: (1) access to raw materials from international markets on the same conditions as other industrial competitors, (2) foster sustainable supply of raw materials from European sources and (3) promote overall resource efficiency and boost recycling and substitution to reduce the EU’s consumption of raw materials. Ms Madelaine Tuininga, Deputy Head of Unit, Industrial sectors Unit (Directorate General for Trade, European Commission) then explained the decision making process and working methods as well as the content of the trade dimension of the Raw Material Initiative. The decision making process through the use of different networks enables to include upfront the development and environmental dimensions in the policy. On substance, the European Commission is working towards setting up rules on trade in raw materials, removing unjustifiable barriers to trade in raw materials and exchanging views and raising awareness on this important issue in relation to third countries. She also clarified that the type of barriers the strategy focuses on are those that distort a level playing field in an unfair manner. Dr Michael Warhurst, Resources and Consumption Campaign, Friends of the Earth Europe then had a critical look at the action of the European Commission. In his views, the European Commission is too centred on the interests of the EU to the detriment of the ones of third countries and especially the developing ones. In addition, increasing recycling and resource use should be considered as a priority compared to other objectives of the strategy such as access to raw materials in third countries.
The floor was then open for discussion. industry. The European Commission is committed to work toward this goal. At the end of the workshop. As for the environmental dimension. Chairman of the Market Access Working Group. The importance of raw materials was emphasised. Clarifications were sought on the criteria used when considering some export restrictions as legitimate. A prerequisite is however the safeguard of the competitiveness of the EU industry. NGOs and third countries was also recalled. the Commission concluded on a convergence of views of the participants on the complexity of the issue. The importance of the working relation between the European Commission. Participants stressed the need to pursue its effective implementation. In a context where there is no quick fix and interactions are complex. Therefore the Raw Materials Initiative was much supported. the absence of a quick fix and the need to integrate the different policy areas in one strategy. Participants were invited to keep contact and to send any further written comments on the Commission's action in relation to access to raw materials. They recognized the need to ensure access to raw materials on world markets in a manner that supports the overarching objective of sustainable development. . Some participants also stressed the need for a coherent approach on raw materials pointing for example at some high tariffs on specific raw materials. described the issue as global and urgent in view of the development of the world population and expected increased demand for raw materials. He called for a global and sustainable approach encompassing the three pillars of the Raw Materials Initiative. recalling that about 70% of all imports to the EU were not finished consumer products but intermediate goods headed for the transformation industries. Some pointed to the role of China in Africa. BUSINESSEUROPE.Mr René van Sloten. Participants stressed the importance of a level-playing field for EU companies which can sometimes face unfair competition vis-à-vis companies where raw materials are kept artificially low by export restraints. both the EU import and export policy will be used to limit the possible negative effect linked to trade in raw materials. Participants acknowledged the significance of the issue and the Raw Materials Initiative which integrates different policy areas. although sometimes prioritizing different pillars of this strategy.and to generate jobs in the field of raw materials. such a comprehensive policy is key. He indicated the dedication of EU business to continue to provide innovative solution – for example to decrease the consumption of raw materials . The social and human development impact of trade in raw materials in third countries can be improved through better governance.