According to the most recent available data, imports of FIBCs into the EU in the first half of 2016 showed a decline in value of almost 2.5%, while volume grew by almost 7% compared with the same period in 2015.
The European FIBC Association (EFIBCA) says the gap can be explained by the drop in raw materials prices at the beginning of 2016, and the relatively strong euro against the currencies of the largest FIBC exporters to Europe during the period.
The top five importers maintained their rankings, although Thailand, with an impressive 45% growth, claimed the number six spot from Vietnam for its volume of exports. India and Bangladesh continued to grow their market share, while Turkey’s continued to decline, albeit by less than in the previous year. Interestingly, Bangladesh’s growth rate (by volume) has cooled off markedly. In 2015, the country’s exports grew by 25% for the year, compared with a mere 2% in the first half of 2016.
China led the smaller import sources and managed to stop, or at least reduce, the dramatic double-digit decline in its exports to the EU in 2014. Following the trend of previous years, in 2016 China still held on to its number three ranking, but it continues to post sizeable losses in market share (22%) in Europe. China is the number one exporter of FIBCs to the US market, which suggests that its strategic focus lies outside of Europe.
EFIBCA has also observed a tendency to affix the CE marking onto FIBCs. However, marking an FIBC with the CE label is not permissible according to European legislation, the association points out.
The CE marking is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA). By affixing the CE marking to a product, a manufacturer declares that the product meets all the legal requirements for CE marking and can be sold throughout the EEA.
This also applies to products made in other countries that are sold in the EEA. But not all products require a CE marking. It is only compulsory for most of the products covered by the New Approach Directives. In fact, it is forbidden to affix CE marking to other products.
Some have claimed that FIBCs (or parts of them) can be categorised as a ‘lifting accessory’, and should therefore be marked, but these claims are false, says EFIBCA. Lifting accessories do fall under the scope of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, to which the CE marking applies, but FIBCs are not included.
All product groups subject to CE marking and the applicable directives and harmonised standards can be checked with help of the EU Commission’s guidance on CE marking for manufacturers.