Interview with NEVIB President Robert Klaassen | FASTENER EURASIA MAGAZINE
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Interview with NEVIB President Robert Klaassen

Q:It has been more than 6 months since the EU terminated the antidumping measure against certain iron and steel fasteners from China. Did you observe any significant change in the Dutch market after the termination? And. are the local suppliers, distributors, or importers in the Netherlands also influenced by the termination?

A: Both the EU market and the Dutch market were very surprised when the antidumping measure against certain iron and steel fasteners from China was abruptly withdrawn last February. After several circumvention investigations, lots of duties paid by European importers, and the positive verdict for China in the World Trade Organisation, the EU seemed clueless as to how to follow up this case, so it took the easy road and simply withdrew the measure. After February. Dutch importers examined the Chinese market, where they had not been buying for seven years, and carefully placed their first orders again. The ADD is still in the importers minds, so at the moment they are very cautious.

Q: The EU has begun to impose import licensing for fasteners since April 29 (which some in the industry worry that it may become another way of restricting goods imported from other non-EU countries). Do you observe any influence from this policy that has been put on local Dutch importers? And, does this policy also cause impact on other countries’ suppliers Dutch distributors/importers are currently cooperating with?

A: The import licensing measure got Dutch and European importers thinking about the reasons behind this. All imports are already being registered by customs, so why do we need an additional measure? It costs the distributors manpower and money. And what’s more: in some countries, the administration is not handled well by the authorities, which results in containers waiting in the port for long periods.

Q: 2017, with the emergence of many positive factors (e.g., the upcoming Fastener Fair Stuttgart, the antidumping measure against Chinese and Taiwanese stainless steel fasteners, which is scheduled to expire on Jan. 08, 2017, etc.), will be an important year for the global fastener industry. What scenario do you think the Dutch fastener market will be in the new year and will there be any new measure, regulation, or development you think will appear?

A: The economy in The Netherlands is doing well again, after a number of years of crisis. For 2016, The Netherlands expects growth of 1.7%, and even more in 2017. So at the moment, Dutch importers and distributors are very positive. However ADD is always in the distributors’ minds, after having been confronted with this for so many years.

Q: “Industry 4.0’’ has been a very hot issue for the industry recently. How do you think the Dutch market (or even the global fastener market) will be under the framework of Industry 4.0? What is the current application of Industry 4.0 in the Dutch fastener industry? Or, does the Netherlands have its own similar industrial upgrade program? Please specify.

A: As the fastener world in the Netherlands is a fairly conservative industry, for the moment importers and distributors are watching what is going on in Industry 4.0. Many other industries will go in front. The fastener industry in general is not a leading sector, but more of a following industry. Of course the Internet of things will be in the distributors’ and importers’ minds if they develop new software, see the benefits, and in due time it will all be normal. But it will take time, and I do not see things changing radically because of Industry 4.0.

Q: It seems that more and more fastener suppliers are turning their focus on the development of automotive and aerospace fasteners, and relevant demand for these categories is also increasing. Does it show the same scenario in the current Dutch et? If not, what type of fastener and application is ranked the top in the demand of the Dutch market? If yes, is there any regulation or certification required for suppliers interested in going into these related Dutch market sectors?

A: In general, most Dutch fastener suppliers do not supply the automotive and aerospace industries. These sectors prefer to buy directly from the producing sources, and do not want an interlink between them and the producers of fasteners. More over, the automotive and aerespace industries are hardly present in the Netherlands. Typical Dutch industries are the food industry, chemical industry, oil- and gas industry, infrastructure works and electrical equipment. In the near past, shipbuilding was an important industry, too. Nowadays, we only produce very special ships. Also agricultural machinery is important in The Netherlands. Of course, suppliers need to have the right certifications to be able to suppy these industries. This is becoming more and more important.

Q: After UK has voted to leave the EU, will there be any change in astener supply and demand in the Dutch market? And, will there be any change in the cooperating way between the Dutch fastener industry and its UK suppliers/clients?

A: The UK is very important to the Netherlands. There is an intensive import from and export to this respected neighbour of ours. For the moment, the only effect we notice because of the Brexit is the fall of the British Pound Sterling. The Netherlands’ market is more expensive for UK clients at this moment. For the rest, we just have to wait and see what will happen in the future, and what the relationship will look like when the Brexit has been determined by the UK and the EU. This will take some years, as expected.

Q: Do you think that the Dutch ^fastener market in 2017 will show :r growth? Which product category or application you think is the most promising and the most potential?

A: The forecast is that the Dutch market will grow about 2% in 2017. The demand for higher grades (steel products 10.9, 12.9) will grow, and also new surface coatings will play an important role.

Q: For 2017. does NEVIB have any plan or schedule to assist its members in facing new challenges or facilitate interchange among members and interaction with other associations? And (if you know), does any NEVIB member plan to make further investment or expand their business territory in 2017?

A: Organising contacts between the Nevib members is one of the most important tasks of Nevib. At least two times per year Nevib members meet each other to discuss developments in the fasteners industry. Nevib Board Members and some Nevib member firms visit the EFDA meetings, where they also meet members of other European fastener organizations. As most of the major distributors and importers in the Netherlands are members of Nevib, the organization cannot really expand anymore.

Q: Is there anything else you would also like to share with the readers?

A: Nevib welcomes the Chinese producers back on the European market, and hopes that political measures will not interfere.