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Last update : 14/09/2018

What's New?

Dalia Yarom (SC Chairperson) and Peters Brangulis (Assay Office of Latvia)

SC Meeting in Riga

Geneva (13 September 2018): The 83rd SC meeting took place in Riga (Latvia) on 5 September 2018 under the chairmanship of Ms. Dalia Yarom (Israel). The meeting was opened by Ms. Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Minister of Finance of Latvia, and attended by 52 officials representing 18 out of 20 Contracting States (Slovak Republic and Sweden did not attend), 2 Applicant States (Italy and Serbia) as well as guests from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia and Spain.

Italy to join

The SC noted that no Contracting State had objected to Italy's accession and as a result, the Depositary would now officially invite Italy to join the Convention. The Chairperson expressed her satisfaction that Italy's accession had finally been agreed following years of negotiations.  Italy indicated that the ratification process should be swift.

The SC reviewed the accession process of Serbia, Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where little or no progress has been made over the past 6 months. In Ukraine, the accession process, which started back in 2005, has come to a complete standstill. The SC invited the Chairperson to write to Ukraine and give them until the end of the year to ratify; if not, Ukraine would be invited to reapply. 

Technical Annexes on track; CCM figures up

The SC also noted that the implementation process of the revised Convention's Technical Annexes (and related Compilation of Technical Decisions) was progressing in all Contracting States. The revised Annexes should enter into force on 1 January 2019, assuming the process can be completed in time in all Contracting States. If one State faces a delay, it will have to inform the Depositary. The technical details regarding the new standardised Common Control Mark (CCM), introduced in the revised Annexes, are in the process of being finalised. The introduction of this new CCM should further boost the use of the CCM, whose number has increased by 22.9% in the first half of 2018. Discussions in relation with the reproduction of this new CCM have also triggered a discussion on introducing minimum rules regarding punch makers. The Standing Technical Group (STG) has been mandated to prepare a first draft.

Implementing the new Vision and Strategy for the Convention

Following the discussions in Stockholm on the future Vision and Strategy of the Convention, the SC has agreed on a prior consultation of Ministries, which will be launched before the end of the year. The SC also discussed the revision of its rules regarding the attendance of guests and on how to attract more Non-Members. In this context, the SC discussed the possibility of eliminating unnecessary duplications with the International Association of Assay Offices (IAAO), which meets once per year after the SC meeting. A strategy paper will be prepared in time for the next meeting in order to look at all possible options. The SC also agreed in principle to establish a Working Group on drafting a "model law", which should facilitate the accession of new Contracting States, in particular those which have no or few regulations in place. The website of the Convention will also be upgraded in the near future; the website is an important tool to promote the Convention internationally.

Round Robin on Testing and Marking

The Chairman of the Standing Technical Group (STG), Mr Thomas Brodmann (Swiss Assay Office), reported on its 23rd meeting held in Edinburgh (UK) on 18°June 2018, during which the outcome of the recent Round Robin (RR) on Testing (RR 42 on gold & RR 43 on silver) was discussed. The STG also reviewed investigations and corrective actions taken by Assay Offices, which exceeded permissible limits during last year's RR (RR 39 on gold, RR 40 on silver & RR 41 on platinum). It also decided on the composition of samples for next year's RR, which will be on gold (RR 44), silver (RR 45) and palladium (RR 46).  In Riga, metal plates were distributed to all Assay Offices for a RR on Marking, which will be on laser marking. The case regarding the possible marking of a multimetal article from Poland was also discussed.

Next meeting in Ljubljana

The SC bid farewell to two longstanding Members, who left the SC since the last meeting: Ms. Valentina Valestany (Sweden), former Chair of the Working Group on Vision and Strategy; and Ms. Isabel Morais (Portugal), former Member of the STG.

The next SC meeting will take place in Ljubljana (Slovenia) on 14 March 2019.

 


Dates of Next Meetings


Geneva (13 September 2018): The next meetings of the Standing Committee (SC) and the International Association of Assay Offices (IAAO) will take place as follows:

- 14 March 2019: SC meeting* in Ljubljana (Slovenia) 

- 11-12 September 2019: SC & IAAO meetings** in Tel Aviv (Israel) 

- 18 March 2020: SC meeting** in Gdansk (Poland) 

* The SC meeting is open to the participation of IAAO Members

** The attendance of the meetings is restricted to Members, Observers and Guests only.

 

 

 


Farewell to Mr. Kazem Rezwan (Austria)

SC Meeting in Stockholm

 

Geneva (3 May 2018): The 82nd SC meeting took place in Stockholm (Sweden) on 20 April 2018 under the chairmanship of Ms. Dalia Yarom (Israel). The meeting was attended by 48 officials representing 19 out of 20 Contracting States (Slovak Republic did not attend) and 2 out of 4 Applicant States (Italy and Serbia).

 

Main news

The SC welcomed Croatia as the 20th Contracting State, which joined the Convention on 19 March 2018. 

Following a proposal by the Czech Republic, the SC unanimously agreed to renew the invitation previously extended to Italy on 26 October 2011 to accede to the Convention.  The Depositary will circulate to Contracting States the SC’s proposal to re-invite Italy in line with Article 12 of the Convention. If there are no objections, Italy will be officially invited to accede.

After several years of negotiation, the SC agreed on the revision of the Convention's Technical Annexes and the related Compilation of Technical Decisions. The finalised text will be formally notified to Contracting States by the Depositary and enter into force on 1 January 2019, assuming there are no delays.

In Stockholm the following outstanding issues in the revision of the Technical Annexes were resolved: sub-contracting of testing to other Assay Offices authorised under the Convention; the shared risk approach; benchmarks for XRF Testing; and a minimum size for all compulsory marks.

Sub-contracting of testing to other Assay Offices authorised under the Convention continues to be permitted for a short-term in response to an emergency. Long-term sub-contracting will now be possible subject to the prior approval of the Standing Committee. An agreement on the definition of the “shared risk approach” has been found, reflecting the particular needs of the Convention, which does not allow negative tolerance. The benchmarks for XRF Testing have been specified and will be incorporated into the Compilation of Acts of the Standing Committee. The benchmarks reflect the averages from the Round Robin results from the previous 5 years. A minimum size of 0.5mm was agreed for all compulsory marks, which must be legible using 10x magnification. 

Once they enter into force, the amended Annexes will introduce a significant number of novelties such as a new, standardised Common Control Mark (CCM); new standards of fineness; the possibility to combine compulsory marks; the obligation for Assay Offices to demonstrate competence; and the possibility to subcontract testing.

 

Other news

The SC reviewed the accession of Serbia, Sri Lanka and Ukraine. 

The Serbian Assay Office provided information on changes in the Serbian government, which are responsible for the delays in the ratification process. Sri Lanka did not attend, although information was provided relating to the on-going efforts to carry out a follow-up inspection scheduled to take place in late 2018. Switzerland provided information on its on-going high-level exchanges with Ukraine (non-attending). The Standing Committee endorsed a proposal for the Chairperson to write to Ukraine to request information on its commitment to join the Convention. 

The Chairperson of the Working Group on Vision and Strategy (WGVS), Ms Valentina Valestany (SWEDAC), provided a presentation on the new vision for the Convention and related strategies developed by the Working Group. The presentation was well received by Members, who were briefed on the 5th meeting held in Porto (Portugal) on 24 October 2017 and the 6th meeting held on 19 April 2018 in Stockholm (Sweden). The SC agreed that the vision and strategies proposed by the WGVS would be circulated to all Contracting States for comment by written procedure.

The Standing Technical Group (STG) reported on its 22nd meeting held by teleconference on 14°February 2018 under the chairmanship of Mr Thomas Brodmann (Swiss Assay Office).  The SC re-elected Mr. Thomas Brodmann and Mr. Peters Brangulis (Assay Office of Latvia). The STG also reviewed proposals regarding the amendment of the Convention's Annexes and related Technical Decisions and postponed discussions related to Round Robins until its next meeting to be held on 18 June 2018 in Edinburgh (UK). The SC appointed a new STG Member Mr. Sipke van der Meulen from Edelmetaal Waarborg Nederland (EWN).

Statistics for 2017 on articles marked with the CCM show a decline of 8% in the total number of articles marked.  There has been a 37% increase in the proportion of articles marked offsite with the CCM in comparison to 2016. This is mainly due to the fact that for the UK offsite marking has increased from 53% to 94% in 2017.

A paper on the new website was presented by the Secretariat, which outlined proposals to update and improve the Convention’s website. The improvements will include notably: developing a visual identity and considering a new logo; increased security and confidentiality; improving content management through the use of a personalised Content Management System; and enhancing the website structure and content. 

 

The SC bid farewell to Mr. Kazem Rezwan (Austria) longstanding Member of the SC since 2002.

The next SC meeting will take place in Riga (Latvia) on 5 September 2018.

 


Croatian Hallmarks

Croatia joins the Convention


Geneva (19 March 2018): The Republic of Croatia has officially joined the Convention to become the 20th Contracting State. Croatia applied for membership back on 31 January 2014. An inspection was carried out on 13-14 November 2014 and the Convention's Depositary, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, invited Croatia to join the Convention on 27 October 2015. The Croatian Parliament ratified the Convention on 27 October 2017 and Croatia deposited its instruments of ratification with the Depositary on 19 December 2017. The accession of Croatia became effective on 19 March 2018.