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.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Convention Secretariat remains open. If you need to reach us, please contact us by e-mail only at the following e-mail address: info@hallmarkingconvention.org

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