The 22nd World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was hosted by the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) in Seville from 11 to 14 November 2015 in conjunction with the ISO/TC189 meetings. With participation growing every year, this edition of the Forum was attended by representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the US and the European Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers’ Association (CET).
The Forum provided an opportunity to discuss global trends in the production and consumption of ceramic tiles. These have both seen steady growth over recent years, with a 4.5% increase in both global production and consumption from 2013 to 2014. In addition to the global level, each country attending the WCTF offered insight into national general trends in ceramic tiles and the construction sector.
The WCTF discussed further the implementation of the new customs Harmonised System (HS) codes for ceramic tiles which will enter into force in 2017. The Forum members were updated on the ongoing process within the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to revise the HS codes explanatory notes. The WCTF expects that the new HS explanatory notes will reflect the resolution adopted by ISO TC 189 on 11 November in favour of a process which will eventually lead to the replacement of the so-called “ISO Boil” test method by the “ISO vacuum” test method. These test methods are used to determine the water absorption level of ceramic tiles which will become the key criterion for classification as of 2017.
Also related to the implementation of the HS codes, WCTF members reiterated their support for a common approach ahead of their entry into force, stressing the need to simplify customs codes classification. To achieve this, it is crucial that national and regional customs authorities maintain the six-digit HS codes without further sub-distinctions when implementing these international codes at national level. If successfully implemented, these codes will provide more reliable customs classification and international trade statistics in line with the reality of the production and markets.
Held in conjunction with ISO/TC189, the Forum looked closely at latest developments in international standardisation and national regulations relevant to ceramic tiles. The WCTF also exchanged information on multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations. Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), members discussed efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and updated each other on national and regional systems designed to incentivise such reduction.
With record-high attendance and key actions agreed, the 22nd WCTF was a great success. We look forward to the next meeting of the WCTF to be held during the week of 14 November 2016, ideally in conjunction with the ISO TC 189 meeting.
The WCTF was created in 1994 and is the annual meeting of the ceramic tiles manufacturers worldwide. The WCTF is a platform open to all ceramic tiles manufacturers in the world. Any producer or association of ceramic tiles producers wishing to participate is invited to contact the WCTF secretariat (events[at]cerameunie.eu).