At CECE's press conference at bauma 2019, the European association of construction machinery manufacturers made it clear that 2018 was the strongest year for the construction equipment sector after the economic crisis. Releasing a special video-animation, CECE reminded attendees that sales in the European market grew by 11% and the absolute market levels are now only 10% below the 2007 peak.
Enrico Prandini, CECE President, stated, “The European construction equipment industry can continue its business in a positive mood. The key for the future is market stability with a soft landing expected in 2019. The same stability and ambition that we seek when talking to European decision makers 6 weeks before the elections for the European Parliament.”
The European Union must focus on industrial policy and free trade
“For a long time, CECE has been working to ensure that European politicians and policymakers create better conditions for the construction machinery industry,” said Riccardo Viaggi, Secretary General of CECE. The European construction equipment industry comprises 1,200 companies from highly specialized SMEs to large European and multinational companies, with revenues of around €40 billion and 300,000 employees.
Introducing the CECE Elections Manifesto, CECE called on the European Parliament, when appointing the European Commissioners for the new 2019-2024 legislature, to ensure that they include industry among their top five priorities. Putting industry at the center of the political debate is key in order to deliver on the much-needed ambition of the EU to have a forward looking Industrial Policy Strategy. European policies around the European Single Market, environmental sustainability, digitalization and international trade are the major points of interest for the construction sector. Read the CECE Elections Manifesto.
These are the messages that CECE highlighted in all the visits by European policy-makers that came from Brussels to visit bauma. Six high-level officials from four different departments of the European Commission were at the fairgrounds during bauma to visit company stands and engage in understanding the sector’s innovations and its policy-related challenges.
The European construction equipment industry is a strong and highly innovative industry, in which global competition is key to industrial development, but can also become a source of challenges. The need for fair competition, open trade and reciprocity is evident. Commenting on free trade and bauma, Viaggi said, ”This fair is a truly global event and with its partner country Canada, the industry is sending out an important signal in support of free trade agreements like CETA and against tariffs wars.”
Concluding on the European Elections, Prandini said, “The approach of bringing politicians closer to our sector is what is driving CECE in the European Elections campaign. We are indeed opening our factories to candidates at the local level in a spirit of dialogue and understanding that has lacked in the past and to build relationships for sustainable growth to deliver safe and stable jobs. Last but not least, I would like to stress the importance of voting at the end of May.”
Outlook 2019 and international relations
The general economic scenario is not expected to change significantly in 2019. Growth on the global scale will happen at a slower pace, given that China will probably not continue its trend at a comparable pace. CECE highlighted the future role of the Indian sub-continent as the new locomotive for growth in the construction and infrastructure sector, with projected growth rates that will double those of China. About the development of international relations, Prandini said, “This is one of the reasons why we have initiated last year an intense bilateral relationship with our colleagues of iCEMA, the Indian construction equipment manufacturers associations, with whom we have signed a unique and innovative Memorandum of Understanding yesterday.”