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25.11.2019 Weighing industry needs right legal framework to reap benefits of digitalisation - CECIP

CECIP (Comité Européen des Constructeurs d’Instruments de Pesage), Brussels, Belgium – the European weighing industry association – has presented its vision for the European weighing industry by 2030. At the CECIP event the main elements of the forecast were discussed with representatives from member states, European Commission, European Parliament and industry.

One of the core topics of the document is digitalisation. “As with many parts of society, the weighing industry is also becoming more digital and connected. This results in many opportunities and benefits. However, to reap the full potential of these opportunities it is important the right framework is established,” commented CECIP president Urs Widmer. CECIP believes several changes are necessary. Software requirements should become simpler and a risk-based approach on software requirements should be allowed. Moreover, a legislative framework should be defined that does not hamper innovations in fields such as artificial intelligence. By implementing these changes, weighing instruments can better enable their users to produce efficiently, increase safety on all the industrial processes where weighing is a key measurement, become more sustainable and improve consumer protection.

Another important aspect of improving consumer protection in all commercial transactions is adequate market surveillance. At the meeting the association stated that it believes it is essential to have effective market surveillance to ensure consumer protection and fair competition. To improve compliance, CECIP offered to cooperate with authorities to strengthen market surveillance within the EU and promote compliance as encouraged by latest EU legislation. CECIP is convinced this is beneficial for consumers, authorities and industry.

European harmonisation of reverification requirements for weighing instruments is another priority for CECIP. It believes the requirements for services in the weighing industry need to be harmonised as well. This position is backed by data from a survey carried out by the association earlier this year. The survey showed that although an estimated 64% of the SMEs in the weighing industry carry out services abroad such as repairing and installing instruments, only 18% carries out legal reverifications. The most important trade barriers identified are differences in national requirements and the additional burden for obtaining authorisations in each country. Additionally, for the companies carrying out the reverifications despite the barriers these cost over 6 million euros per year due to extra administration and man hours. This means that the fragmented requirements create significant barriers to trade, costing the European weighing industry millions of euros annually.

Making it easier to trade weighing instruments and provide services abroad is not only applicable for intra-EU trade. The weighing instrument industry is a global industry and European weighing instruments are sold all over Europe. Therefore, CECIP called for increasing the business opportunities and reducing the trade challenges via trade agreements and cooperation via OIML. CECIP will also aim to strengthen cooperation with similar industry associations in the USA, China and Japan.

CECIP president Urs Widmer (left) and director Carlo Pettinelli of DG Grow of the European Commission at the CECIP dinner on 21 November

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