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.