Opinion Former Article

BSIA: New EU policy to increase export opportunities for UK security manufacturers

 

Members of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) have welcomed the announcement of a EU-wide industrial policy for the security industry, issued yesterday (Monday 30th July) by the European Commission.

The policy aims to increase harmonisation between EU member countries, reducing the severe fragmentation that currently exists in the European security marketplace and removing trade barriers that restrict the ability of UK security equipment manufacturers to expand their product offering to other countries within the EU.

Testing and certification is just one area that will be positively impacted by this policy. Currently, test houses operate on a national level, meaning that products often have to be tested separately for each country they are sold in. For example, an alarm that is compliant to the auditing requirements in France cannot necessarily be sold in Germany, unless it is being retested specifically for the German market.

This onerous process is not only time consuming, but is also financially burdensome, as the costs and time associated with the separate testing of the same products in each country is considerable, providing a significant barrier to growth for smaller businesses in  particular.

In recognition of this, the European Commission’s policy acknowledges that “a competitive and innovative security industry is [fundamental to] any viable European security policy,” and pledges to reduce the fragmentation that currently restricts EU-wide harmonisation.

Through their involvement in RISC and Euralarm, members of the BSIA’s Security Equipment Manufacturers’ Section (SEMS) have contributed directly to the European Commission’s policy consultation and welcome the opportunities it brings in encouraging fairer trade across EU member countries and subsequently, in stimulating competition.

Results of the consultation revealed that independently of their background (be it SME, large corporate or public authority), stakeholders underlined the clear added value of a European-wide certification regime, highlighting four key benefits that this would bring, not least the reduction of the administrative and financial burden brought about by the duplication of current certification procedures.

Adrian Mealing, Chairman of the BSIA’s SEMS section, comments: “This policy represents an excellent starting point for harmonisation across the EU, and is set to have a monumental impact on views and procedures in EU countries. We at the BSIA hope that this policy will drive test houses to adopt a European – rather than national – focus, increasing quality standards across the board.”

Respondents to the European Commission’s consultation also expressed concern for the fragility of the EU security market in comparison to its international competitors, and agreed that an industrial policy framework could help the European security industry regain its competitive edge in the global market.

“With an estimated market value of as much as €36.5bn, the EU security market has real potential to compete with the likes of China and the U.S.” says Alex Carmichael. Technical and Export Director at the BSIA. “Removing trade barriers and creating a one-stop testing regime will not only increase exporting opportunities for UK companies, but will also help to drive the overall professionalism of the European security industry.”

The official launch of the policy will take place at the Security Essen exhibition in September this year, where the BSIA will be represented by Technical and Export Director, Alex Carmichael, and members of the Association’s SEMS section.

To find out more about the BSIA’s SEMS section, visit http://www.bsia.co.uk/security-equipment-manufacturers

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