On 03.04.2017, the Secretary General of the World Cement Association, Norman Greig, welcomed the introduction of Interstate standard GOST 31108-2016 as a step towards greater compatibility between Russian Federation and EU standards, but cautioned that there was still much to be done in terms of conformity assessment and certification, which are not harmonised with EN 197-2 in GOST 31108-2016 and 30515-2003 cement standards.
Interstate standard GOST 31108-2016 “Cements Technical Specification” was introduced as a national standard of the RF from 01.03.2017. The technical characteristics requirements of the new standard are broadly similar to those of the EU’s EN 197-1: 2011 standard, except that GOST has 23 sub-types compared to EN 197’s 39 sub-types.
GOST 31108 and GOST 30515 do not include specifications for regulated aspects nor do they detail conformity assessment requirements, whereas these are all specified in Construction Products Regulation, EN 197-1 and EN 197-2. For the RF these requirements are instead covered by the 2016 legislation and GOST R 56836-2016 “Conformity assessment. Cement certification rules”.
European Commissioners and EU suppliers have complained to the Russian Government and to the World Trade Organization that these cement certification rules constitute an unfair barrier to trade which have resulted in blocking of imports of cement to the Russian Federation by foreign companies.
The main complaints are that foreign companies are denied certification and the rules require that additional testing is required at border control which result in delays while tests are completed. A number of EU companies have diverted their sales to other markets.
The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) issued warnings to the companies certifying cement products. FAS has found that two certification bodies refused some applications for mandatory cement product certification without well-reasoned grounds as to why certification could not be performed under the National Standard of the Russian Federation GOST R 56836-2016 “Evaluating conformity. Cement Certification Rules”. Such actions could restrict competition on the cement market.
“The World Cement Association believes a compatible regulatory environment based around the equivalent national and international standards would be in the interest of all cement market participants in both the European Union and the Russian Federation,” said Norman Greig, Secretary General, WCA. “The latest GOST 31108 standard is a step in the right direction on technical specifications, but the regulatory environment and the way that the ”cement certification rules“ are being applied in the Russian Federation are considered, by many, to be technical barriers to trade which can lead to reduced competition in the market”.
WCA has conducted a detailed comparison of EN 197-1 and 2, with GOST 31108 2016, GOST 30515 2013 and GOST R 56386-2016, the findings of which are available to association members.