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More Effective EFDA Emerges from Paris Conference
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The fourth triennial conference of the European Fastener Distributors Association, held in May at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris, France, produced a new, robust organisation focused on achieving a more persuasive and effective presence in Brussels, according to EFDA secretary Bernd Stapf.

The main conference, attended by some 90 delegates from across EFDA’s national association membership in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, followed a familiar structure. Professor Wolfgang Franz of the Centre for European Economic Research presented a not-surprisingly downbeat perspective of the European economy, which subsequent economic and political events have done little to contradict. Members of PRISMEFIX reported rather more progressively on the joint development with its manufacturing counterpart, AFFIX, of a fastener training programme about to be launched in France – the culmination of three years intensive effort. In a guest presentation, EIFI president, Anders Karlsson, counterpointed the beliefs of most of his audience by arguing that the continuation of trade measures against imports from Asian countries was vital to the health of European fastener manufacturers. Jay Queenin, president of the National Fastener Distributors Association of the United States and Steven Fang, director of the Taiwan Fastener Trading Association provided updates on their respective home industries and markets.
As newly elected EFDA president Dr Volker Lederer, from the FDS, concluded the formal proceedings. At the conference Serge Kopinsky, from PRISMEFIX, was elected vice-president of the Association. In the evening delegates enjoyed a festive dinner at this landmark hotel on the Left Bank of the Seine.
Behind the scenes, however, the conference marked a radical development of the EFDA organisation, inspired and driven to a substantial extent by retiring president, Bernhard Berrang and EFDA secretary Bernd Stapf. The assembly of delegates representing the five national associations agreed a new funding structure until 2015, which included a strong commitment from the Fachverband des Schrauben-Grosshandels, which has member companies in Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland as well as Germany. This provided the financial platform for EFDA to appoint the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA), to fulfil its secretarial requirements and more specifically work to substantially increase EFDA’s presence and effectiveness at the European Commission and Parliament. EFDA’s official headquarters will move to the BGA office in Brussels. Following a transitional period, long serving EFDA secretary, Bernd Stapf, will relinquish his responsibilities at the turn of the year in favour of Dr Helena Melnikov of the BGA.
The re-organisation of EFDA represents a highly significant shift from an association of associations, which since its inception has tended to be reactive, responding, some have argued, “just too late” to the initiatives of its manufacturing counterpart, the European Industrial Fasteners Institute, which has worked intensively and successfully to a large extent to engender anti-dumping proceedings against fastener imports from Asian sources.
“EFDA and its member associations, has now recognised that, in order to ensure fair and open trading conditions,” explains Bernd Stapf, “it needs to consistently and continuously present its arguments to European politicians and administrators. EFDA’s new organisation will ensure it is effective in doing so.”
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