24th WCTF, China

The 24th World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was hosted on 30 November and 1 December in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China, by the Chinese Building Ceramics Association (CBCSA) and the Xian Yang Research & Design Institute of Ceramics (CNBM). The meetings were held in conjunction with the ISO/TC189 meetings. This edition of the Forum was attended by representatives from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, the US and the European Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers’ Association (CET).

The Forum provided an opportunity to discuss global trends in the production and consumption of ceramic tiles. In correlation with the increase in consumption of ceramic tiles, worldwide production is estimated to have increased by 85% over the last ten years and by 1% in 2016 compared to 2015. In addition to the global level, each country attending the WCTF offered insight into national general trends in ceramic tiles and the construction sector.

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23rd WCTF, India

16-19 November 2016 in New Delhi, India

THE 23rD WORLD CERAMIC TILES FORUM (WCTF)was HOSTED BY THE Indian council of ceramic tiles and sanitaryware(ICCTAS) IN New delhi FROM 16 TO 19 NOVEMBER 2016.

Over 30 countries from 5 continents are members of the WCTF. Visit the members page for the full list of member associations. 

The WCTF is a platform open to all ceramic tiles manufacturers in the world. Any producer or association of ceramic tiles producers wishing to participate is invited to contact the WCTF secretariat (scroll down to see contact information in footer).

 

22nd WCTF, Spain

11-14 November 2015 in Seville, Spain

The 22nd World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was hosted by the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) in Seville from 11 to 14 November 2015 in conjunction with the ISO/TC189 meetings.

With participation growing every year, this edition of the Forum was attended by representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the US and the European Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers’ Association (CET).

The Forum provided an opportunity to discuss global trends in the production and consumption of ceramic tiles. These have both seen steady growth over recent years, with a 4.5% increase in both global production and consumption from 2013 to 2014. In addition to the global level, each country attending the WCTF offered insight into national general trends in ceramic tiles and the construction sector.

The WCTF discussed further the implementation of the new customs Harmonised System (HS) codes for ceramic tiles which will enter into force in 2017. The Forum members were updated on the ongoing process within the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to revise the HS codes explanatory notes. The WCTF expects that the new HS explanatory notes will reflect the resolution adopted by ISO TC 189 on 11 November in favour of a process which will eventually lead to the replacement of the so-called “ISO Boil” test method by the “ISO vacuum” test method. These test methods are used to determine the water absorption level of ceramic tiles which will become the key criterion for classification as of 2017.

Also related to the implementation of the HS codes, WCTF members reiterated their support for a common approach ahead of their entry into force, stressing the need to simplify customs codes classification. To achieve this, it is crucial that national and regional customs authorities maintain the six-digit HS codes without further sub-distinctions when implementing these international codes at national level. If successfully implemented, these codes will provide more reliable customs classification and international trade statistics in line with the reality of the production and markets.

Held in conjunction with ISO/TC189, the Forum looked closely at latest developments in international standardisation and national regulations relevant to ceramic tiles. The WCTF also exchanged information on multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations. Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), members discussed efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and updated each other on national and regional systems designed to incentivise such reduction.

With record-high attendance and key actions agreed, the 22nd WCTF was a great success. We look forward to the next meeting of the WCTF to be held during the week of 14 November 2016, ideally in conjunction with the ISO TC 189 meeting.

 22nd WCTF in Seville, Spain (2015)

22nd WCTF in Seville, Spain (2015)

21st WCTF, China

12-15 November 2014 in Shanghai, China

The 21st World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was hosted by the China Building Ceramics and Sanitaryware Association (CBCSA) in Shanghai from 12 to 15 November 2014.

This year’s edition of the Forum was attended by representatives from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the European Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers’ Association.

Among a number of topics covered, the WCTF addressed key developments in global trade. Members discussed the ongoing review under the 5th cycle of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) of outdated Harmonised System (HS) classification, which determines customs codes for ceramic tiles. Moreover, this session of the Forum presented an opportunity to discuss developments in standardisation at national and international level. Participants also used this fitting occasion to share key trends, challenges and experiences in trade from their respective countries.

With a view to the successful implementation of the new HS codes recently approved under by the WCO, WCTF members agreed on a common approach in the implementation phase of the new HS codes. By 2017, date of their entry into force, the new customs codes will no longer be based on a distinction between glazed and unglazed tiles but rather on three categories of ceramic tiles according to their water absorption percentage (low, medium and high). The international classification will also include two separate groups for mosaic tiles and finishing products. National and regional customs authorities will soon enter into a process to implement these international codes at national level. In that respect, the WCTF stresses the need to simplify customs codes classification. Consequently, it calls on national governments not to introduce any additional sub-distinction other than those approved by the WCO at six digit level.

A successful implementation of the new codes will provide more reliable customs classification and international trade statistics in line with the reality of the production and markets. It will also facilitate the work at customs to the benefit of producers, importers and exporters.

Lastly, the WCTF provided an occasion to explore the developments in international standardisation (ISO). The discussion notably addressed the topics of slipperiness and water absorption test methods. On the latter, the WCTF expressed its support for one single worldwide test method for water absorption, this method being based on the “ISO boil” (ISO standard 10545 -3 (2012)) until the work at ISO level results in an agreement on this matter. The WCTF also discussed further cooperation on environmental aspects in the context of the ongoing work at ISO level to develop a sustainability standard for ceramic tiles. Regarding Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), the WCTF agreed to continue its work to promote convergence between existing Product Category Rules (PCR) and ideally to develop an international PCR on the basis of existing PCRs. Such rules are designed to internationally harmonise the method used to develop EPDs. PCR for flooring already exist in the US and EU-wide PCR for ceramic tiles were introduced in June 2014.

The next meeting of the WCTF is scheduled in Sevilla, Spain, from 12 to 14 November 2015. For the first time the Forum will be organised in conjunction with the ISO TC 189 meeting scheduled from 9 to 11 November 2015.

20th WCTF, Brazil

5-8 November 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The 20th World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was hosted by Anfacer, the Brazilian Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers, from 5 to 8 November 2013.

Representatives of the ceramic tiles industry came from all corners of the world to discuss issues of common interest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

The WCTF was created in 1994 and is the annual meeting of the ceramic tiles manufacturers worldwide. With active countries including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the US, participation has continuously increased in recent years. Members represent around 90% of the global production.

This year’s WCTF revealed upwards trends in global consumption and production and provided an update of the current process in the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to review the outdated Harmonised System (HS) classification determining customs codes for ceramic tiles. Moreover, this session of the Forum presented an opportunity to discuss the developments in standardisation at national and international level. Participants also used this fitting occasion to share key trends, challenges and experiences in trade from their respective countries.

The consistent rise in consumption and production reflects a healthy and growing global market for ceramic tiles. Global consumption in 2012 has increased by 4.7% compared to 2011, representing a rise of over 91% compared to 2000 levels (see chart). Moreover, production in 2012 has exceeded 2000 levels by over 89%, equivalent to more than 10.3 billion square meters of ceramic tiles.  

 World consumption of ceramic tiles 2000-2012 | Source: Confindustria Ceramica

World consumption of ceramic tiles 2000-2012 | Source: Confindustria Ceramica

Regarding HS codes, World Forum members were pleased that the agreed proposal was submitted to the WCO in July 2012 and is being addressed under the 5th HS review cycle. Successful review of old codes (HS 6907/6908) applicable to ceramic tiles will provide more reliable customs classification and international trade statistics in line with the reality of the production and markets.

The WCTF provided an occasion to explore the developments in international standardisation (ISO) and the activities of the ongoing working groups (WGs) under ISO TC 189. The discussion notably addressed the topic of water absorption and the potential to establish a single global test method through the ISO route. At the EU level, steps have been taken towards creating harmonised Product Category Rules (PCRs) for ceramic tiles. This project, which is now at an advanced stage, will promote the interoperability of Environment Product Declaration (EPD) schemes in Europe. The WCTF agreed to launch a working group aiming at reaching a consensus on internationally accepted PCRs.  A working group will also be initiated to further improve the consistency of production and trade statistics at international level.

Lastly, the WCTF provided an overview of market access issues, which are increasingly hampering the development of trade in the ceramic tiles sector. The WCTF reiterated its support for the further liberalisation of trade through multilateral and bilateral agreements in order to reduce the impact of tariff and more particularly technical barriers to trade. Mandatory certifications, disproportionate labelling requirements and national standards diverging significantly from international standards are particularly harmful to trade and should be considered as infringing the WTO TBT agreement.

The next meeting of the WCTF is scheduled for 12 to 15 November 2014.

 20th WCTF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013)

20th WCTF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013)

19th WCTF, Ukraine

27-30 June 2012 in Sevastopol, Ukraine

The 19th World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was hosted by the Ukrainian Association of Ceramics from 27 to 30 June 2012. Over 40 representatives of the ceramic tiles industry worldwide gathered in Sevastopol, Ukraine, to discuss matters of common interest.

The World Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers’ Forum was created in 1994 and is the annual meeting of the ceramic tiles manufacturers worldwide. With actively participating countries such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the USA, the participation has continuously been growing over the last years.

This year's WCTF revealed global trends in consumption and production and provided an update on recent actions taken in standardisation both at national and international level. Moreover, this session of the Forum gave its members the opportunity to address the urgent need for a review of the “Harmonised System” codes used at customs and for trade statistics concerning ceramic tiles.

As a matter of fact the production of ceramic tiles has constantly grown over the last decade to almost 9.7 billion square meters, a plus of over 77%. The increased consumption in the last decade and the rise in the post-crisis years 2010 and 2011 are good news for the industry and reflect the growing demand for ceramic tiles in today’s society. Mr. Cafiero, Director General of Confindustria Ceramica (It), reported a boost by 79.1% between 2001 and 2011 (see chart).

 Global consumption of ceramic tiles 2000-2011 | Source: Confindustria Ceramica

Global consumption of ceramic tiles 2000-2011 | Source: Confindustria Ceramica

In the field of international standardisation (ISO), the US delegation, which is holding the secretariat of ISO TC 189, updated the members of the ongoing work on tiles specifications (WG2), test methods and specifications for installation products (WG3), backer board test (WG5) and anti-bacterial activity of ceramic coverings (WG8). In addition, the Italian delegation presented the latest developments in relation to test methods (WG1), thin tiles (WG4) and the sustainability of tiling systems (WG7).  The next meeting of ISO TC 189 on ceramic tiles will meet in Nagoya, Japan, from 12 to 14 November 2012.

Most importantly, the WCTF thoroughly evaluated the codes currently applicable to ceramic tiles at customs and in international trade statistics.  The members for the World Forum unanimously acknowledged the need to engage into the process to review the old codes (HS 6907/6908), which are considered as inadequate, unreliable and no longer in line with the reality of the production and markets. The aim of the World Forum members is to have these concerns addressed under the 5th HS review cycle of the World Customs Organization starting in November 2012.

Participants also agreed to develop a WCTF website to enhance the visibility of the ceramic tiles industry at international level. The WCTF is a platform open to all ceramic tiles manufacturers in the world.  Any producer or association of ceramic tiles producers willing to participate is invited to contact the WCTF secretariat.

The WCTF will hold its 20th session in Brazil from 6 to 9 November 2013.

18th WCTF, Mexico

18-20 October 2011 in Mexico City, Mexico

The 18th edition of the World Ceramic Tiles Forum took place in Mexico City, between 18 and 20 October 2011. 

The Forum has been growing every year, with 13 countries present in this edition. Argentina and the United Arab Emirates joined for the first time this year older members such as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States. Ceramic tiles is one of the few industries to have a forum of meetings and discussions at worldwide level, the countries represented in the World Forum account for 90% of the global ceramic tile production.

The 2011 meeting was chaired by Alfonso Panzani, as President of the World Ceramic Tiles Forum. The five main themes of discussion were the global trends in ceramic tiles production and consumption, the status of trade liberalisation in the ceramic tiles industry, international standardisation and industry initiatives to promote ceramic tiles and the sustainability of ceramic tiles.

One of the main conclusions of this meeting was that the Forum should have a more active and decision making position and become more than just a place to exchange information. The Forum should achieve common agreements, even if not all the countries feel fully satisfied with them. In order to achieve these goals members feel the need to have a better work structure for the Forum, with dedicated resources working during the whole year to receive information from countries and structure the discussions. This way, participants would be able to give direct input on proposals, common propositions and shared ideas.

To conclude, Mr Alfonso Panzani underlined the role that the World Ceramic Tile Forum should play as developer of the industry. The Chairman also stressed the fact that very good results can come out if all the participants work towards a common goal. Mr Panzani adapted the words of John Kennedy to synthesise the 2011 edition saying that ceramic tile manufacturers should question "what we can do for our industry and not what the industry can do for us".

This year’s edition of the World Ceramic Tile Forum will be held in Kiev, Ukraine, from 27 June to 1 July 2012. For the CET members the Annual Meeting will be held on 26 and 27 June also in Kiev, in order to allow CET members to attend both events.

17th WCTF, Indonesia

30 June - 1 July 2010 in Jakarta, Indonesia

On Wednesday 30 June and Thursday 1 July 2010, the World Ceramic Tiles Forum gathered in Jakarta for its 17th session. This year’s session of the Forum was hosted by ASAKI, the Indonesian Ceramic Industry Association.

The 17th Forum session involved the representatives of the ceramic tiles industry in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine and the USA. Altogether, these countries represent the very large majority of worldwide production in wall and floor tiles. 

16th WCTF, Taiwan

4-7 November 2009 in Taipei, Taiwan

On Thursday 5 November, the World Ceramic Tiles Manufacturers’ Forum gathered in Taipei for its 16th session. 

This year’s session involved the representatives of the ceramic tiles industry in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Spain, Taiwan and the USA. Altogether, these countries represent the large majority of the worldwide production in wall and floor tiles.

The main aspects tackled at the Forum’s General Assembly covered global trends in consumption and production, the impact of the economic and financial crisis on the sector and the persistence of tariff and technical barriers to trade.  Most importantly, the Forum focussed on environment and climate change related policies or tools.

Global trends in production:  World production has been constantly rising over the last years with an estimate of 5,7 billion m2 in 2001 increasing to 8,2 billion m2 in 2007.   The world production rose to 8,5 billion m2 in 2008 but is expected to remain at the same level in 2009.  While tiles consumption is continuing to grow in Asia, regions including Europe, Japan and the USA have shown very significant decreases in 2008.  Due to the economic and financial crisis these decreases will further accentuate in 2009 with sales decreasing from 20% to 50% in some countries.   The biggest producer in 2008 was by far China followed by Brazil, Italy and Spain. 

Constant rate of technical barriers to trade:  Technical barriers to trade under the form of diverging standards or disproportionate tariffs have traditionally been widely used in this sector in order to protect domestic industries.  This trend remains unchanged and is even more harmful to the industry in a situation of economic crisis. 

Coordination on environmental standards and environmental protection:  In spite of this difficult context, the industry continues to adapt to the rapid changes in demand notably through innovation and the adaptation of international standards.  Moreover, this session of the Forum allowed for the first time at international level extensive exchanges of information on how environmental protection and measures against climate change are being addressed by the industry in different parts of the world.  More particularly, the Forum members discussed developments in energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, environmental labelling and green public procurement. 

As stated in his conclusions by Mr. Schäfer, Chairman of the Forum, “it is extremely important that tiles manufacturers cooperate more at international level on environmental protection, technical standards and barriers to trade”.  The Forum gathers every year more tiles manufacturing countries and is offering a platform for this cooperation.

The 17th session of the Forum will be hosted by Indonesia in Jakarta from Wednesday 30 June to Saturday 3 July 2010.