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Coalition against 2010 ban on non-metric "supplementary indications"


Below is a list of organisations lobbying EC Directive 80/181 which will, unless averted, requires metric-only use by 2010. More are expected.
Orgalime; 16 March 2006 (represents the mechanical, electrical and metalworking industries of 23 European countries, and speaks for 130,000 companies accounting for over a quarter of the EU's manufacturing output). "Orgalime believes that the present issue which has been reappearing on the regulatory agenda since the 1970s needs to be dealt with once and for all, while avoiding taking measures that would damage the competitiveness of European engineering manufacturers ... The possibility to label products and have documentation using both SI and other units for as long as required by the market must therefore, in our view, be perpetuated".
   
National Association of Manufacturers and the European-American Business Council; joint position paper, January 2006 "Under the EU metric-only requirement, many U.S. manufacturers would have to label separately and maintain separate inventory and warehousing for products marketed in the United States and European Union. Separate metric-only product brochures, catalogues, and marketing websites on the Internet would also be necessary. European manufacturers would face a similar problem ... The EU should permanently change 80/181/EEC so that producers have the flexibility to use either metric-only or dual units on product labels depending on end-user needs".
   
Confederation of European Businesses (UNICE), letter to the European Commission, 25 April 2006: "... the Commission should allow the use of supplementary indications (dual labeling) on products indefinitely so as to avoid imposing unnecessary burdens and cost on European companies. In the spirit of better regulation it should be left up to each market segment to judge the speed at which it adopts the SI units system, if it has not already done so".
   
Tyre Industry Federation (UK), 25 October 2006 "The Tyre Industry Federation is opposed to the proposal to ban the use of non-metric units as supplementary indications with effect from 2010 ... The use of non-metric units is commonplace in the industry. For example tyre and wheel sizes are commonly denominated in inches throughout the world, not just in the UK, and this usage is recognised in global standards. A ban on their use would have a severe impact on both the industry itself and the users of the product. At the very least such a move would cause disruption to global trade in tyres, which is the norm in the industry, lead to other practical problems, impose substantial costs and sow confusion in the minds of motorists.

It is important also to remember that tyres are a safety-critical feature of motor vehicles. The ban on the use of units which are familiar to motorists, such as pounds per square inch for tyre pressures, could lead them to treat their tyres in inappropriate ways, at potential risk both to themselves and to other motorists. Safety is a paramount consideration in the tyre business and the Federation would not wish it to be compromised by this proposal".
   
Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry, 12 October 2006 "...prohibition of additional and complementary imperial measurements on labels and other information elements is neither desirable nor necessary. The majority of adult consumers in the UK are still conversant with imperial units and use them in preference to metric units - particularly in clothing measurements (collar sizes, chest, waist and hips, inside leg, etc). In particular, the largest sector of the buying public is in fact the 'baby boomer' generation who were taught and have used imperial units throughout their life - these people are not going to disappear in four years and exclusion of their normal frames of reference would cause immense confusion. Additionally many companies sell products in non European markets where imperial measurements are still widely used and a move to exclude these measurements from labelling in Europe would create extra work and costs for no benefit".
   
Association of British Healthcare Industries, 22 March 2006 "Within the medical devices industry many of the units of measure, e.g. Charriére gauge, the Needle gauge, wire diameter and the notation used to designate size of sutures and ligatures are based upon historical units and could lead to confusion and potential major patient safety issues if attempts are made to metricate them. When the transition period ends in December 2009 what will happen to long-life products that have dual labelling and which are already in the supply chain? CEN standards advocate the use of both imperial and metric units on the product label. Will these standards be revised before the end of 2009? The ABHI urges the European Commission to permit the use of dual labelling indefinitely. This action would make EU and USA product packaging compatible and remove the danger, within the European healthcare sector, of patient harm caused by misunderstood product information supplied to the end-user".
   
Rock Oil (UK producer of lubricants and fuels), 3 May 2006 "We as a company would like to display non metric measurements for exactly the same reasons mentioned in the previous (1998) letter. If anything it is even more imperative that we can display non metric measurements as we have significantly expanded our interests in the US in the last couple of years".
   
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (US), "U.S. installation codes and product standards are based on critical, non-metric units-of-measure for electrical products. Three examples are motor and controller ratings in horsepower, wire sizes provided in American wire gauge (AWG), and torque provided in pounds/inch. The EU directive would require motor ratings in kilowatts, wire sizes in mm2 and torque in Newtons. Dual labeling would ensure that electrical equipment can be safely selected and installed for either market".
   
Harris, manufacturers of paint brushes and tools, 6 September 2005 "We entirely agree with your opposition to the proposed EC Directive that will ban the use of imperial measurements and we agree with your idea that this should be market driven rather than by Brussels. The main reason for this is that imperial dimensions are still used by very many people as their measure of choice, and it is therefore restrictive and necessarily obstructive to only use the metric system as these consumers always tend to translate this to imperial measurement ... the proposed directive will not have any benefit to the consumer, indeed the opposite, and seems to me to be driven by a mis-directed desire for European uniformity".
   
Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (UK), 28 July 2006 "The CTPA is concerned about the approaching prohibition of non-metric supplementary units of measurements. We intend to contact the authorities and urge for supplementary indications to continue to be allowed. The single issue for the CTPA, in this case, is the use of dual content labelling (metric/imperial) to facilitate harmonised cosmetic product labelling for the US and European markets. If imperial units are banned from January 2010 then the cosmetics industry will be forced to produce differently labelled products for each market which will increase costs, complexity and waste. As you say, it may also place a barrier to international trade as the marking of metric and imperial units is mandatory in the US".
   
Southern Sheds "Southern Sheds have been producing garden buildings for over 30 years. They are advertised and sold in feet and inches. We find that everyone understands a 6 ft x 4 ft or an 8 ft x 6 ft but very few people come in and ask for a 1.2 metre x 2.4 metre; even young people ask for imperial sizes. All our workshops are set up in feet and inches i.e. auto-saws, cutting tables, benches, etc and to convert would cost us a considerable amount of time and money".
   
Dairy UK, 10 November 2006 "The Department of Trade and Industry sees a very strong case for the extension of the EU derogation that permits the continued use of imperial measures as a supplementary indication of measurement. The Commission is due to issue a consultation on whether the derogation in the EU metric regulation, which permits the use of supplementary indications, should be extended. The derogation has been allowed to lapse and unless reinstituted the use of any imperial indications in economic transactions, including consumer packaging, would be banned. This would mean that dairies could not use combined measure-ment indications such 568ml/1 pint on packaging from 2009 ... Dairy UK will, of course, be responding robustly to the Commission's consultation when it is issued".
   
Chamber of Shipping, London, 3 January 2007 "We, of course, believe it absolutely fundamental to keep the exemptions allowed under Article 2b, so as to allow for the navigation of ships using the existing and conventional units of nautical measurements such as the 'international nautical mile' and the 'knot'; and we are further obliged to do so to remain in compliance with International Maritime Conventions. We will consult with other EU ship owner associations and then respond direct to the Commission".
   
Society of British Aerospace Companies, 8 Dec 2006 "SBAC is aware of the issue you raise and is in discussion with DTI and our European trade organisation about the potential impact on the aerospace industry. We will be making our own representations on this matter and welcome any additional information on the difficulties aerospace companies may face if implementation proceeds without appropriate changes to the legislation".
   
Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA) and Picon (the latter representing UK sup-pliers to the printing, publishing, and papermaking industries), 3 January 2007 "Working on behalf of their members, many of whom are small and medium mechanical engineering firms, Picon and EAMA have asked the UK Government's Industry Minister, Margaret Hodge, to fight the possible ban on the use of imperial measures in literature and on products. The potential ban, which could come in to effect from 2010, would apply to products destined for both European Union (EU) and non-EU markets. Having joined the Europe-wide engineering lobbying organisation Orgalime, EAMA is already lobbying on the issue in Brussels. Picon chief executive John Brazier said: 'We had an extremely sympathetic hearing from the minister and were able to discuss ways to mitigate some of the unintended consequences of policy on our members' ".
   
Garton Group, Manchester (importer and exporter of fasteners), 20 December 2006 "...our trade association the Confederation of British Metalforming are against this EU directive and are lobbying through the Engineering and Machinery Alliance".
   
Other organisations include: Federation of British Hand Tool Manufacturers
Food and Drink Federation (UK)
  Bicycle Association (UK)
  Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances
  Inveresk (British manufacturer of artists' paper).
 
   

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