Competitiveness and Trade


competitiveness and trade
21 Feb.2020

PRESS RELEASE: European paper and board production follows the EU economy downward trend in 2019, in contrast with market pulp production dynamism

According to preliminary figures, the European paper and board production has decreased by 3.0% in 2019, compared to the previous year.

2019 saw new capacities coming on stream, and upgrades of existing ones, but closures and lower production operating rates dragged down paper and board production. This downward trend was observed in all the top paper and board producing countries.

The slowing down of the EU’s economy in 2019 - from 1.9% in 2018 to 1.1% in 2019, combined with global instability and trade tensions, impacted the European paper and board consumption, which recorded a 4% decline.

Domestic paper and board deliveries in Europe went down by 2.6% compared to 2018, while imports declined by 3.9% according to preliminary figures. Paper and board exports grew by close to 0.9%.

Contrary to previous years, packaging paper and board production remain relatively stable in 2019, unable to offset the on-going decline of graphic grades.

The overall production of graphic grades – newsprint and printing & writing papers - fell by more than 8.0% in 2019.

The production of sanitary and household papers registered a limited growth, +1.0%.

Total pulp production (integrated pulp, plus market pulp) increased by 0.8%. It was overperformed by market pulp production which jumped by 6.1%, as a result of recent massive investments in new capacities. This growth in production is driven by the export market demand. Similarly, exports of market pulp jumped by close to 40% in 2019 according to Eurostat.

To respond to this higher demand, the European paper industry has invested significantly to increase the production of market pulp and further implement the bio-refinery concept. These investments combine higher efficiency in raw material use and the production of highly innovative bio-based products, besides market pulp.

Pulp produced in Europe comes from sustainably managed forests, for example through programs like PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), and is increasingly used in various value chains. The level of certified wood, chips and sawmilling by-products was 74% in 2018.



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13 Dec.2019

Joint statement: A Taxonomy Delivering Sustainable Growth in Europe

We, the signatories, represent sectors of major importance for European economic development and wealth. We provide highly skilled jobs to Europeans and invest in innovative solutions, renewable and efficient technologies that make the transition to a competitive, low carbon and circular economy in Europe possible. Doing so, we help fight climate change and lead the way towards a more sustainable world.
We welcome efforts to mobilise the financial sector in accelerating the move towards a prosperous and sustainable Europe in 2050. To achieve this, a stable, fair and favourable investment framework in Europe will be key. In that regard, the European Commission’s Sustainable Investment Regulation proposal (so-called ‘Taxonomy Regulation’) is an important and necessary step and the draft report recently tabled by the Technical Expert Group (TEG) (mandated by the Commission) sets out a first basis to define what sustainable investments are. Yet the TEG report is insufficient and needs serious improvements to provide the clarity, objectivity and predictability needed in order to accelerate investments in sustainable solutions, guarantee affordable financing, safeguard energy supply security at acceptable cost, but also boost innovation and competitiveness in Europe. To this end, the Sustainable Investment Regulation and derived Taxonomy should apply the following key principles:
● The future Taxonomy should help implement the adopted EU legislation, including the EU energy, climate and circular economy legislation as well as other sectoral legislations. Given that the Taxonomy will likely start applying as of 2023, businesses, governments and financial market participants should not be faced with different targets, standards or thresholds that could disrupt markets, distort competition and result in excessive costs linked to burdensome implementation. Coherence should also be ensured with the existing investment classifications, for example the Principles for Responsible Investment Reporting Framework and/or the European Investment Bank’s Energy Lending Policy. Flexibility should however be left to investors and businesses that wish to go beyond the Taxonomy as part of their investment strategies.
● The future Taxonomy’s criteria and thresholds should be impact assessed prior to their application, to avoid unintended consequences for the sectors in which they will apply. The draft
TEG report presents important inconsistencies as well as technical and methodological flaws that could prevent investors from making fully informed decisions on their investments. Therefore, the future Taxonomy should be above all internally consistent and conducive to a level playing field that allow businesses and investors to invest in sustainable solutions that meet their varying needs. Metrics and thresholds are essential elements in EU legislation and should thus not be defined in delegated acts that do not allow their proper prior impact assessment and scrutiny by EU Member States and stakeholders.
● The future Taxonomy’s criteria and thresholds should also be developed and assessed by EU Member States and stakeholders. This should be done before they start applying, in line with the Commission’s Better Regulation agenda. In this regard, we have noted the lack of industrial representation in the TEG, the short consultation time on the TEG report as well as the lack of communication and coordination between the various working groups dealing with different aspects of the TEG report. The Sustainable Finance Platform will be instrumental to involve all relevant parties, beyond financial market participants, and develop a Taxonomy that delivers for investors, the economy and the environment.
● The future Taxonomy should be technology neutral and lead to investment in innovation, infrastructure and solutions that help achieve the EU goals cost-effectively. The TEG report privileges some technologies and solutions over others. For example, not all activities are subject to a Life Cycle Emissions analysis. Some sectors face stricter requirements than the 2030 EU energy and climate goals despite their sustainability benefits (e.g. cogeneration or bioenergy), when other activities need to apply today’s EU legislation (e.g. space heating and domestic hot water systems). Some solutions are also not properly considered (e.g. the value of heat and gas networks, including for storing renewable energy). A holistic approach looking at all solutions that contribute to meeting the EU energy, environmental, climate and circular economy goals is required to ensure a neutral approach and a level-playing field.
● The future Taxonomy should adopt a transitional, evidence-based and pragmatic approach, which reflects today’s technological development, available renewable and highly efficient low-carbon solutions significantly contributing to the transition, as well as current energy mixes and existing infrastructure. EU countries will have different starting points entailing varying investment needs. Europe’s transition to a cleaner society will not take one single form nor will it happen all in one day. Above all, no one should be left behind. Investments considered ‘sustainable’ today should also not become ‘unsustainable’ overnight because they are not listed or do not fit the Taxonomy definition. This is key to ensure regulatory certainty and economic stability.
● The future Taxonomy should better tackle environmental sustainability but also the social and economic pillars of sustainability. Focusing mainly on carbon emissions reduction, the TEG report needs to tackle better concepts such as circular economy, resource efficiency and energy efficiency for their significant environmental and health benefits (e.g. lower ecological and resource depletion, better air quality) as well as economic benefits (e.g. independent, secure and reliable supply of raw materials and energy, reduced dependence on imports, improved competitiveness). Not doing so risks compromising the very notion of (all-around) sustainability, which is essential to make fully informed and successful investment decisions for the future. On the contrary, integrating those dimensions into the Taxonomy would render it more comprehensive and better aligned with other major EU policy priorities, including fostering reindustrialisation and employment in Europe, and help make the move to a sustainable society an economic success for Europe.
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26 Nov.2019

A long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future: from words to action

The Industry4Europe coalition has today issued its new Joint Paper A long-term strategy for Europe’s industrial future: from words to action. Through cross-sectoral recommendations, the Industry4Europe coalition contributes to the future EU industrial strategy announced by European Commission President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen.

The Joint Paper presents concrete industrial policy proposals in seven priority fields; business-friendly policy environment, sustainability at business core, upgraded skills and training, enhanced research and innovation, investment and improved access to finance, reinforcement of the European Single Market and strengthened trade and international market access.

The 149 industry organisations behind Industry4Europe stand united in their repeated calls for an ambitious and long-term EU industrial strategy that must help Europe remain a hub for a leading, smart, innovative and sustainable industry, that provides quality jobs and benefits all Europeans and future generations.


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31 Jul.2018 ,

CEPI is proud to support Industry4Europe for an ambitious EU industrial strategy

Industry4Europe is a coalition of around 130 manufacturer associations committed towards the achievement of an ambitious EU industrial strategy.

#Industry4Europe initiative, CEPI's a part of, has released four documents in the past months.

A governance structure
1. Ensuring an informed and permanent dialogue between the industry and policy decision-makers in association with civil society stakeholders (trade unions, consumers organisations, NGOs, academia) and;
2. A structure of European Institutions which allows for an Industrial Strategy to be addressed and implemented at highest level.

The governance structure document is available here.

Setting indicators
The aim is to propose a short list of indicators that can be used to both assess the health of the European industry and monitor the progress made by the EU on the implementation of its industrial strategy.

The indicators document is available here.

Declaration on industrial on EU industrial strategy
The representatives of the European manufacturing industry call on the European Commission to, among other things, refirm the commitment to reaching the target of 20% of GDP from industry, with an ambitious and realistic timeline and.

The full declaration is available here.

Joint reaction paper
Industry4Europe initiative  has also released a paper to react to "Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable Industry. A renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy" published by the European Commission.

The full document is available here.




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05 Mar.2018 ,

European paper industry’s trade complaint against Turkey upheld in European Commission report

The EU has today released a report related to a Trade Barrier Regulation ("TBR") investigation launched following a complaint lodged by CEPI, the European association representing the paper industry. The report upheld the complaint finding that the measures imposed by Turkey on the imports of certain varieties of paper such as office paper, books, envelopes and paper used for direct mail marketing (otherwise known as uncoated wood free (“UWF”) paper) from the EU were inconsistent with both WTO and the EU–Turkey Customs Union rules.

"CEPI takes pride in its strong commitment to free trade with its partners. The decision by the Turkish authorities to remove these unfair measures is applaudable; however this issue should never have been escalated in the first place. It is our expectation that the Turkish authorities stand by their obligations under the EU-Turkey Customs Union Agreement in the future” says Sylvain Lhôte, Director General at CEPI.

In advance of the Commission’s publication of the report Turkey removed the unfair trade measures. With this in mind, the EU has decided not to pursue the matter further. The industry will however remain vigilant that similar measures do not hinder the free flow of trade between the EU and Turkey in the future, particularly in light of the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union Agreement.

Background to the trade complaint:
Following an inconclusive safeguard investigation on UWF imports in 2014-2015, Turkey extended in 2016 an existing import licensing system which targeted €150 million of EU exports of UWF paper products.The Turkish non-automatic import licensing system with regard to UWF paper was based on an arbitrary price threshold and created a significant and unfair obstacle to EU-Turkey trade. The contested system posed a clear violation of WTO and the EU-Turkey Customs Union Agreement. The European paper industry already exports 22% of its produce outside the EU and will continue to remain an advocate for free trade and take a firm stance where this is put at risk.

For more information, please contact Bernard Lombard, Industrial Policy Director, at or by phone at (+32) 2 627 49 22.

For press-related enquiries, please contact Ben Kennard, Press Manager, at or by phone at (+32) 487 39 21 82.

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