International Trade

Policy areas / Trade / International Trade

International Trade

The European Union must do everything necessary to
maintain a level playing field for the health of the
continuous filament glass fibre value chain.

In brief

Glass fibres is the cornerstone of the glass-based composite materials and technical textiles value-chains. The EU is globally the most advanced economy in terms of use and innovation of glass fibre based lightweight materials.
The EU’s environmental awareness and its ambitious climate policy has increased substantially EU demand for strategic materials such as continuous filament glass fibres and products made thereof. This has attracted players from many third countries over the last decades to the EU market.
Glass Fibre Europe is a strong promoter of international trade and healthy competition, as a fundamental source of growth and innovation for the global economy. However, international trade can create win-win situations only if there is a level playing field in line with international trade and competition rules. Especially considering the high investments made by the EU glass fibre value chain in R&D and production, it is essential to maintain a level playing field on the EU market.

Why a level playing field is critical

Our sector is at the beginning of the glass fibre based lightweight materials value chain. As such, Glass Fibre Europe members have been at the heart of R&D activities in the industry sector. Over the last decades, the European industry helped create several hundred new applications of glass fibre reinforcements in multiple sectors, such as automotive, aerospace, defence, construction, automotive, energy, and sport and leisure, just to name a few.
These investments and advancements of our industry value chain would not be possible in an environment characterised by unfair competition. While dumped imports might in the short-term lead to cost savings in downstream industries, the subsequent loss of key stages of the EU glass fibre-based lightweight value chain would weaken all subsequent stages as well. These would then be equally exposed to unfair competition but without having the benefit of being able to create competitive advantages through R&D cooperation across the EU industrial value chain.

Our view

It is essential to maintain the level playing field on the EU glass fibres market, so that our industry can continue to support the EU’s twin transitions to a green and digital economy.
To ensure this, it is important for the European Union to :
• Maintain solid, up-to-date and comprehensive EU trade defence legislation
• Ensure the effective application and implementation of all available EU trade instruments
• Place the EU’s core values/principles at the heart of its trade negotiations (e.g. protect the environment, address climate change, and uphold high labour standards).