Staffordshire MEP Michael Cashman is calling on the European Commission not to withdraw its Mark of Origin proposals on ceramic tableware goods and for the European Council to finally accept them. He will make the plea at a meeting of the European Parliament Ceramics Forum, which is taking place in Brussels next Tuesday (27th November).
The Mark of Origin proposal would see ceramic tableware goods manufactured outside the EU bearing a mark which would inform consumers exactly where products come from. This is a principle which has always been applied by the British ceramics industry through the use of the backstamp.
Although the proposal is supported by the European Parliament and the European Commission, the proposal has never been approved by the governments of EU Member States at the European Council and the Commission might decide to unilaterally withdraw it in its Work Programme for the new year.
“Mark of origin would improve consumer choice. More information leads to better choices. I have been very concerned by the heavy opposition of the UK Government to such legislation which is a real threat for our jobs in the region!
“Ceramic producers want it. Trade unions want it. The European Commission and the European Parliament want it. The decision now rests with the UK and the other member states of the EU as to whether we seriously want to protect the industry and its jobs. If they do, there is no reason for the European Commission to withdraw its proposal. We need backstamping! ”
Harry Hockaday, General Secretary of UNITY Trade Union, gave his backing to Michael’s call and warned that the consumers are currently in danger of being misled.
“In the absence of effective mark of origin proposals, British based firms who outsource work outside the EU are able to use ‘bogus backstamps’. It can not be right that an item of tableware manufactured in China can have ‘England’ stamped on the back!
“Consumers need to know what they are buying. Staffordshire made tableware is of a much higher quality than products made in China. ‘Bogus backstamps’ are not only misleading, they also damage the reputation of British made products as well.”
Michael Cashman also welcomed the recent announcement by the European Commission that it was finally introducing ‘anti dumping’ measures against imported tableware from China.
“I support these measures and I hope they will result in outsourced jobs returning back to the UK.
“I don’t agree with UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom who described the measures as a ‘knee-jerk reaction of the crockery manufacturer in the English Midlands’. They are thought out measures which seek to ensure a level playing field and secure high quality manufacturing jobs in North Staffordshire.”
i) The next meeting of the European Parliament Ceramics Forum will take place at the European Parliament (Paul-Henri Spaak Building, room P7C050), Brussels, on Tuesday 27 November 2012, between 15:00 and 19:00
ii) Michael Cashman MEP is the current President and Malcolm Harbour MEP is the Co-President.