The General Assembly of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) took place in the prestigious setting of the buildings of the French Union of Jewellery, Silverware, Stones and Pearls (UFBJOP) in Paris on the 1st of April. An exciting visit to the Haute École de Joaillerie (Higher School of Jewellery Arts) opened this day full of discussions. A few figures suffice to show the history and fame of the oldest jewellery establishment in the world: 151 years of existence, 600 students and 12 workshops.
Under the auspices of Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, President of the UFBJOP and EFJ, the discussions allowed for further reflection about the full application of the mutual recognition principle for European jewellery products. Such an application would significantly facilitate the free circulation of jewels throughout the European Union.
International trade was another topic. The EFJ reaffirmed the importance of maintaining an open European trade policy towards third countries and is currently working to identify the main tariff and non-tariff barriers that prevent the European jewellery sector from reaching 60% of consumers in the world.
2019 will also signify a year of change, as the European elections will substantially modify the political landscape. The EFJ will be equal to this challenge with the development of a new awareness and communication strategy. The members of the Federation will notably meet the newly elected Members of the European Parliament in October in Strasbourg.
At the dawn of the advent of a new European Parliament and a new Commission, the EFJ remains more mobilised than ever. “The European jewellery sector is faced with a growing number of challenges. We decided today to include the issue of synthetic diamond in our mandate. The EFJ will advocate for the implementation of a specific customs code to differentiate synthetic diamond from natural diamond.” concluded Ms. Pinet Cuoq.
The critical priorities of the European jewellery sector were at the centre of several meetings held on the 21st of February 2018 between a delegation of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) and several European Commission’s representatives.
This second successful day of bilateral meetings covered a broad range of topics, notably conflict minerals, international trade, cash payments and synthetic diamonds.
In particular, the Federation reiterated its willingness to closely cooperate with European and international Institutions to proceed with a swift implementation of the Conflict Minerals Regulation and to make sure that SMEs can easily adapt to the new rules.
Moreover, during several meetings with different representatives of DG Trade, the EFJ stressed that the economic growth of the sector is severely hampered by obstacles to free trade and especially by the persistent tariff and non-tariff barriers applied by third countries on EU jewellery products. In the respect, the Federation encouraged the Commission to maintain its ambitious commercial policy in order to improve the EU access to key foreign markets.
The Federation had also a second exchange of views with DG ECFIN regarding a potential harmonisation of cash payment limits at the EU level. Finally, they put forward some proposals to DG Justice to tackle the challenge of the increasing production of synthetic diamonds.
The fruitful meetings confirmed the EFJ commitment to become a proactive and trusted actor on the European scene and allowed more in-depth exchanges on crucial themes.
The European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ) published a new position paper on limits in cash payments to feed into the debate around the EU initiative on restrictions on payments in cash launched by the European Commission last year.
The EFJ position paper highlights several issues related to the lack of harmonisation of cash payment limits at EU level. The most notable concern for the sector is the different maximum thresholds for cash payments in business-to-consumer transactions. Moreover, cash restriction limits often differ also within the Member States creating unjustified discriminations between residents and non-residents. These differences lead to a lack of equal level playing field and generate unfair competition between EU Member States, which goes against the EU Internal Market principles.
The EFJ paper also underlines that cash remains the preferred form of payments in the Euro area because it protects the users’ privacy and personal data, it is universally accepted, costless and flexible. Moreover, cash allows the immediate closure of payments while electronic transactions might be cancelled and are more exposed to external constraints such as technical problems or hacking.
With this position paper, the EFJ urges the European Commission to put forward an EU initiative aimed at harmonising the limits for cash payments by proposing a proportionate threshold which takes into consideration the different necessities and sensibilities of EU citizens.
The position paper can be downloaded here.
On the 21st of April, a delegation of the European Federation of Jewellery (EFJ), headed by its President, Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, had a series of successful meetings with several representatives of the European Commission. The objectives were to raise awareness about the sector and its main challenges as well as to exchange on several key issues: COSME, the European support programme for SMEs, the EU policies in favour of creative industries, conflict minerals, market access and opening of third countries’ markets and cash payment limits.
Regarding the implementation of the newly adopted EU conflict minerals regulation, the EFJ reiterated its commitment to work with the European Commission, the OECD and the other stakeholders to enhance the due diligence responsibilities of its members.
An ambitious and proactive approach was also defended during the high level meeting with the Cabinet of Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs. The EFJ advocated the adoption of a European harmonisation of cash payment thresholds in order, notably, to achieve a level playing field between the economic actors on the European territory.
The representatives of the European Commission welcomed warmly the EFJ and were happy to get information on this high value sector. This first day of fruitful meetings set the foundation for a deeper involvement of the Federation in the European scene.
L’EFJ s’est réunie à l’occasion de la foire de Bâle sous la Présidence de Madame Bernadette Pinet Cuoq, en présence de Fatima Santos, Secrétaire générale AORP, de Monsieur Jan Orye, Président d’Ars Nobilis et avec la participation de Madame Licia Mattioli, membre de la Cofindustria et de Monsieur Charles Chaussepied, Vice-Chair du Responsible Jewellery Council.
L’EFJ a eu le plaisir d’accueillir un nouveau membre, Monsieur Cédric Berruex, représentant de l’Association Romande des Métiers de la Bijouterie, et de valider le plan d’action pour les semaines à venir avec les rencontres.