The UK government has endorsed CARES for its conduct in addressing complaints by the UK steel industry about the quality of imports of Chinese reinforcing bars over the last 18 months.
In a letter dated 20 April 2015, Dr. Vince Cable, the former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said “It is unfortunate that Parliamentary debates on steel over recent months included inaccurate statements about the role of UK CARES, particularly in relation to the certification of imports of Chinese reinforcing steel.”
The Secretary of State was responding to statements made at a House of Commons debate on the steel industry on 14 January 2015. At the debate, the Secretary of State said the government had initiated an inquiry by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to investigate whether the certification process was working and whether the correct testing procedures were being followed.
The Secretary of State corrected this statement in his letter. He said “We have explained to the House that the UK Accreditation Service investigated the complaint by UK Steel and concluded that UK CARES had responded in an appropriate way to the concerns raised, in line with the expectations and requirements of the accreditation standard.”
From September 2013 to August 2014, three separate allegations of non-compliance complaints were brought to the attention of CARES, all related to CARES-approved Chinese manufacturers. CARES investigated the three complaints quickly and effectively, and found no evidence of sub-standard products. The first two investigations were completed within two months, the third within four months.
Lee Brankley, CARES Acting Chief Executive Officer, says “CARES has a strong track record in assuring the quality of reinforcing steel produced in over 40 countries around the world including the UK, China and Turkey. However, receiving this clean bill of health from the UK Government does not mean that we will become complacent.”
For example, in August 2014 two amendments were made to the technical requirements of the Steel for the Reinforcement of Concrete (SRC) scheme for reinforcing steel manufacturers and fabricators. The reinforcing steel manufacturers are now required to attach a minimum of two durable identification labels to each bundle or coil. For a reinforcement processor, where a Trader is used for the purchasing of material, the CARES approved fabricator shall document and implement a procedure to ensure that the Trader selected is in possession of a valid CARES certificate of approval.
The objective of the SRC scheme is to provide the purchaser of reinforcement with confidence that the product will be in accordance with the appropriate Standard and customer requirement without the need to undertake separate testing. The assurance of product quality is achieved by applying quality management principles throughout the whole supply chain.
Lee Brankley says “Clients and specifiers should specify CARES approved reinforcement manufacturers and fabricators with confidence that the product will comply with the relevant reinforcement standard without the need for costly, on-site testing.”