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Are you prepared for EC '92?

Are You Prepared for EC '92?

The unification of the European Economic Community at the end of next year, referred to as "EC '92," will present numerous new regulatory challenges to American manufacturers, according to an SPI analysis. December 31, 1992 is the target date for the 12 nations of the European Community (EC) to eliminate all tariffs and other barriers to the movement of people, goods, and services, and adopt common standards and regulations for health and safety in products, the workplace and the environment.

Removal of restrictive barriers within the EC could also benefit U.S. firms, SPI notes. But it is also possible - perhaps even likely - that some of the new product design and environmental standards could act as trade barriers against non-EC firms or products.

Here is SPI's analysis of what to be on the lookout for as EC '92 approaches:

* Electronics Industry: Obstacles to non-EC trade, such as increased tariffs and local-content requirements, could govern the electronics industry within the EC. Major European electronics firms have thought ahead and have moved some operations to the EC, where they will be less likely to order materials or parts from U.S. molders.

* Government Procurement: In 1989, only 2% of contracts from EC nations went to non-EC firms because of procurement regulations that discriminate against non-EC suppliers. Government contracts can be lucrative, so U.S. firms may consider making a move to the EC by "piggybacking," or forming cooperative ventures with European firms to increase EC sales.

* Product Design Standards: Finished product suppliers and moldmakers are advised to research relevant international standards. If products comply with current ISO standards, companies will have a better opportunity to gain access to the EC market.

* European Standards Bodies: If EC allows U.S. exporters to participate in developing unified international product standards, they could be equally beneficial to all concerned. However, if the U.S. is left out of the process, or if the EC does not recognize U.S. standards and testing bodies, U.S. companies will be at a significant disadvantage.

* Environmental Issues: Potential obstacles could arise in the areas of recycling programs; limits on heavy-metal use in manufacturing; standards that restrict types of plastics permitted for contact with food; and efforts to develop "clean" technologies.
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Title Annotation:Regulatory Update; single European market
Author:Block, Debbie Galante
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:378
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