PUEBLA, MEXICO --The 30th World Ceramic Tiles Forum (WCTF) was held from November 5th to 7th in Puebla, Mexico. The event, hosted by TCNA (Tile Council of North America), was attended by 42 representatives from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United States, Turkey and Ukraine.

The Forum, where Italy was represented by Confindustria Ceramica, began with presentations by each delegation covering statistical data and major issues of national importance. The aggregate production figure for 2022 was 13,642 million square meters, reflecting a 6% decrease compared to 2021. This decline was attributable to the difficulties facing the construction sector in the main regions in the second half of the year along with a substantial contraction in the Chinese domestic market.

Regarding international trade, the delegates noted that the sector’s harmonized code heading HS 6907, which the Forum had worked on extensively over the years, is now applied by 107 countries. They then strongly condemned all “unfair trade” practices adopted in the current global context marked by serious international crises and resultant supply chain imbalances.

The other key items on the agenda concerned the challenges facing the industry globally in relation to occupational health and safety, with particular regard to differences in legislation on silica, and policies to combat climate change, which are adopted in all countries but with very different levels of commitment and expense for companies operating in different regions.

Following the Forum, the international standards organization’s technical committee for the sector ISO/TC 189 also met in Puebla from November 9th to 11th. The committee discussed developments in product standards and outlined operational guidelines for conformity audits of the ISO 17889 sustainability standard, the first of its kind at an international level. A dedicated working group also evaluated the potential creation of a parallel standard for an embodied carbon parameter for building products. 

The associations representing the participating countries also undertook to work together during the coming year on initiatives aimed at promoting the values of ceramics.

The next meeting of the Forum is scheduled to take place in Portugal in November 2024.