UKLA President’s Report

One of the key responsibilities of a trade association such as the UK Lubricants Association is to support and promote standards in the industry, and to encourage all players in the industry to compete openly and fairly in the market.

All that sounds simple and non-controversial, but in reality it can pose some dilemmas for an association, its members, and for other players in the industry whether they are from outside the market or from non-members based within the market.

All markets have some variety (or “gradations”) of quality standards, and participants in that market will choose the quality standards they aspire to attain for their brands, often choosing to offer products at several different quality levels in the same market.

By doing so, customers and end-consumers are offered a range of quality options, which provides greater choice in product performance, service, and of course price.

UEIL President’s Report

This past month was an important one for the EU. European Parliament elections took place on 23-26 May, and those results will now shape the EU institutions, as well as the EU’s agenda, for the next five years. The European Parliament changed significantly from the 2014-2019 mandate. While the two largest parties are still the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), these parties have, for the first time, lost the ability to form a majority of their own, losing seats to parties on the rise like the Liberals (renew Europe – formerly known as ALDE) and the Greens. With newly elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) taking office, UEIL will need to engage in communication early, in order to ensure the success of our future interactions with European stakeholders.

Independent of the changed political landscape of the European institutions, it seems evident that Artificial Intelligence will be among the top priorities in Brussels for the next five years. The European Commission is willing to build on a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence, digital strategic autonomy and


What is therefore important in the market is to try to ensure that customers and end-consumers are provided with clear and accurate information on which to base their purchasing decisions.

In our industry, there is a multiplicity of standards and guidelines, such as API or ACEA, or those of the engine equipment manufacturers, and these can be bewildering for customers and end-consumers, and even for those of us operating in the market every day.

There is still merit in the old phrase of “let the buyer beware”, but we cannot reasonably expect the customer or end-consumer to be able to differentiate in such a complex environment. Customers and end consumers (such as blenders, workshops, retailers, engine manufacturers, industrial customers, etc) should still exercise some vigilance and a healthy scepticism, but we need to help them, and that is part of the mission statement of the UKLA.

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cybersecurity over the next five years, with the objective to design a European industrial strategy. In order to do so, investment in research and innovation would be increased by using EU programs from the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), such as Horizon Europe.

The topic of Artificial Intelligence will be extensively discussed during a dedicated workshop on “Harnessing AI for competitive advantage”, held by Katie King, a leading expert on AI, on Wednesday 23 October, during the 2019 UEIL Annual Congress in Cannes, France. As there is a limited number of places available, I warmly recommend to register for the workshop in good time to make sure you secure a place.

I look forward to discussing this and other topics at the Congress in Cannes, which will take place from 23rd to 25th of October 2019!

Valentina Serra-Holm, UEIL President

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