Tracking Key Issues for Ceramic and Glass Decorating
From regulations to tariffs and trade wars, what does the industry need to know?
The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorating Products (SGCDpro) is tracking several regulatory and political issues impacting the industry.
EU Reviewing Leaching Limits and Protocols
SGCDpro member British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) has advised the society of the European Union’s proposal to reduce lead and cadmium leaching limits on ceramicware “well below” current limits. The proposal also recommends a “three-use” test protocol and considers whether additional metals should be regulated. The testing on which to base any new limits has been under the European Commission’s Joint Research Center’s (JRC) direction.
In late 2017, the JRC published a summary of its work to date in a document entitled “Towards Suitable Tests for the Migration of Metals from Ceramic and Crystal Tableware.” According to the report, “Most mainstream ceramic materials already meet low values of migration, in particular for lead, but traditionally produced ceramic articles do not.” Although the EU does not have harmonized legislation for glass, the report addresses lead crystal and the “glass sector” in general.
One of the document’s most important points is the JRC’s acceptance of a three-use testing methodology: “Given that many ceramic materials show a much higher migration [of heavy metals] during the first use than during subsequent uses, a repeated use test of three subsequent migrations represents better the exposure after the first use of a ceramic material. This protocol was therefore investigated to generate results for three successive migration tests in order to represent a repeated use regime.”
The BCC suggests that members should become familiar with the JRC report1 in case the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announce any plans to review and/or revise their respective lead and cadmium leaching limits.
EU, China, Canada Retaliate against U.S. Tariffs
In retaliation against U.S. tariffs aimed at goods from the European Union, effective June 20, the EU increased duties of 50% on multiple categories of tableware and kitchenware, and household and toilet items, as well as statuettes made of porcelain, china, common pottery, stoneware, earthenware or fine pottery, excluding limited items. A 25% increased duty affects categories of float glass and surface ground glass, in sheets (colored throughout the mass “body tinted,” opacified, flashed or merely surface ground), toughened “tempered” safety glass, and rear-view mirrors for vehicles.
The 25% could also affect decorated (glass) bottles if they contain other products on the list: multiple fruits or vegetables, juices, bourbon and scotch, makeup, skin care and manicure products; table, kitchen or other household articles, and parts thereof, of stainless steel (excluding cans, boxes and similar containers); plus certain clothing items such as t-shirts. A 10% increase affects glass mirrors, unframed, except for those for vehicles; optical mirrors, or those over 100 years old; and drinking glasses and stemware, except those of glass ceramics or of lead crystal.
On July 1, Canada imposed a 10% surtax on tableware and kitchenware products in its list of countermeasures against U.S. tariffs on Canadian goods. These countermeasures apply only to goods originating from the U.S., “which shall be considered as those goods eligible to be marked as a good of the U.S. in accordance with the Determination of Country of Origin for the Purposes of Marking Goods (NAFTA Countries) Regulations.”
The “trade war” with China was launched at 12:01 a.m. on July 6 when the U.S. put into effect a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, primarily industrial goods and some electronic components. China’s foreign ministry immediately responded with a similar value of surcharges on U.S. exports. The Chinese targets included primarily steel, aluminum and farm products. A surcharge of 15% over the current $10.92 million duty on $73 million worth of U.S.-produced wine could affect any wine bottles decorated in the U.S.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is providing an opportunity for the public to request exclusion of a particular product from the additional duties to address situations that warrant excluding a particular product within a subheading, but not the tariff subheading as a whole. The World Trade Organization provides details regarding the Chinese list.2
New Proposition Labeling Rules
The OEHHA recently revised the rules for Proposition 65 labeling of products.3 New rules include labeling of consumer products and workplace hazards, while additional requirements apply to e-commerce.
- European Commission Joint Research Center, “Towards Suitable Tests for the Migration of Metals from Ceramic and Crystal Tableware,” http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC108092/final_report_ceramics_final.pdf.
- World Trade Organization, “Immediate Notification Under Article 12.5 of the Agreement on Safeguards to the Council for Trade in Goods of Proposed Suspension of Concessions and Other Obligations Referred to in Article 8.2 of the Agreement on Safeguards,” https://bit.ly/2Ou7pKc.
- California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Proposition, 65, https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65.
Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of Ceramic Industry, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.