Foundation of E.L.I.A.S.

E.L.I.A.S. European Lighter Importers`Association in Frankfurt on Thursday, 15 February 2001

Speech by Klaus Troeber on February 15 in 2001 in Frankfurt for E.L.I.A.S. European Lighter Importers`Association.

46 Participants within 19 Member-Countries

Ladies & Gentlemen, dear lighter importers!

It is a great pleasure and honour to welcome you here in the centre of Europe to the first meeting, the foundation meeting of the European Lighter Importers Association, abbreviated: E.L.I.A.S.

Since the European economy is in a melting process and borders more and more are evaded the question of a European representation became increasingly of interest to the importers of lighters. The European Lighter Manufacturers Confederation meanwhile had such a strong voice in Brussels that a counter-balance was urgently needed. I myself tried to amend the European Lighter Manufacturers Confederation and asked their president two years ago to give the importers a seat at their table and a fair chance of representation since we have a lot of issues in common and even might discuss the question of Europe made lighter share and imported share of the great European market. So far the essential Euro-Manufacturers did not send a signal of co-operation. Meanwhile many issues are of common European interest for the lighter manufacturers and importers. These issues I would like to call common issues, others specific European importers Issues:

Common issues: CEN/ISO safety regulations for lighters improved ISO 9994 and the question of child resistance for lighters (similar to the US Standard)

Importers Issues: Anti-dumping matters:

  1. New petition of European manufactures for an investigation on piezo pocket lighters, specifically plastic disposable piezo lighters.
  2. Extension of present anti-dumping duty on Chinese flint gas lighters under production value of Euro 0.16 (?)
  3. Safety – security of imported lighters – checked against ISO 9994. Toy lighters-gimmick? Should lighters (plastic pocket) have the European safety standards BSI – AFNOR – GS-TÜV and others. European manufacturers try to stop „unsafe lighters“ by finding new quality standards based on their own products.
  4. Circumvention of import regulations by false certificates of origin (black sheep!)
  5. Copy of products being still in production in Europe, America, Japan, Korea by Chinese manufacturers or even European importers

There are enough new products developed every day in China, so that imitation or slavery copies of products made Europe or in other countries should not be promoted or distributed. Importers should take their influence on such mainly Chinese manufacturers to stop such fake products and their modifications.

We need a multi-cultural lighter world with innovation from Europe and Asian countries, no mono-culture from China only! Designers & Engineers in Europe, America, Japan & Korea should still have a chance to develop new technologies and designs at a certain higher level. China should as well see a great chance here in own research and development.

It is one of our main targets to get more understanding from our partner-countries for respect of innovation, design & patents. Importers should no longer carry samples from products of other countries to China asking for a cheap copy!! China especially should support the technical development inside their own country and should consider safety standards obligatory for all exported lighters. A „passed-mark“ like old Japan used would be a suitable way, E.L.I.A.S. here can find own ways for their members, so that the mark „member of E.L.I.A.S.“ becomes a quality label.

E.L.I.A.S. arbitration:

In case of disputes between importers or importers and manufacturers or patent owners a committee of commercial judges and a lawyer may take decisions. A percentage of 25% (?) of eventual royalties or penalties might be granted to E.L.I.A.S., the major part to the winning party (75%)

Qualification of E.L.I.A.S. members

As lighters are hazardous goods, the manufacturers and the importers should have a technical qualification to produce or distribute (import to Europe) such products.

  • E.L.I.A.S. will support in question of qualification the applicants with the necessary documents, information etc. (ISO 9994)
  • E.L.I.A.S. members should have a manufacturers or importers product liability insurance and all imported products should have a brand (individual) directing to the responsible importers
  • E.L.I.A.S. information
  • E.L.I.A.S. legal advice and support by lawyers
    1. Import regulations
    2. technical, patents, safety
    3. E.L.I.A.S. own status
  • E.L.I.A.S. regulations
  • E.L.I.A.S. competence
  • E.L.I.A.S. membership
  • E.L.I.A.S. fee – budget, salaries, expenses
  • E.L.I.A.S. team: president, vice-president, treasurer , secretary
  • E.L.I.A.S. duration of presidentship
  • E.L.I.A.S.‘ office address: Hamburg
  • E.L.I.A.S.‘ official address: Brussels
  • E.L.I.A.S. member fees
  • E.L.I.A.S. frequent meetings:
    1. Meeting of all members once a year before Ambiente Fair in Frankfurt (approximately mid February)
    2. in beautiful places where meetings and seminars may take place,in a recreative environment chosen by our members which can
      take along even the personal partner enjoying and relaxing after the events.
  • E.L.I.A.S. size & competence
  • The importers have a much greater market share than the European manufacturers so far my guess is, that 60% of electronic disposable lighters and at least even 80% of all electronic utility lighters are imported into Europe. For flint disposable lighters my guess is 45% import (EC-share) but for all Europe inclusive Russia, Poland and other eastern European countries 75%.
  • E.L.I.A.S. should have a strong representation at the ISO meetings (next this year in Berlin 8-15.09.2001) Here please read the news from CPSC (attached) from November 2000 indicating a decline of fire deaths associated with children playing with lighters.

Thank you for listening and your kind attention.