ETRMA ‘surprised’ by TWG speech
Following the publication of Tyres & Accessories’ report on the recent NTDA Tyre Wholesalers Group annual lunch, ETRMA secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp has written an open letter stating her association’s surprise at the issues raised in TWG chairman Ashley Croft’s keynote speech. During the speech, Croft referred to testing, lobbying and the relative importance of the implementation of current tread depth legislation. As our coverage explains, no-one was available to attend the event on behalf of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers association, so here is the association’s response in full:
Sir…The ETRMA made it an industry priority to promote international harmonisation within the UNECE WP29i framework of the 1958 Agreement as the best way to address technical barriers to trade. This is so true that the imports into the European market have been growing steadily for the past 10 years. It is also true that EU legislation is becoming more and more sophisticated, environmentally demanding and safety oriented. This is a playing field that applies to any tyre producer who wishes to sell its tyres on the European market.
When it comes to Mr Croft’s reported statement that there would be a lack of testing capacity in Europe, we can only disagree: the upcoming tyre labelling is self-declarative and there is absolutely no requirement to test the tyres in the European test labs only, unlike in Korea, India or China, where tyre manufacturers are requested to submit their tyres only to labs designated by the national authority in the Country, usually local ones.
ETRMA strongly believes that all stakeholders in a market must be submitted to the same rules, local manufacturers and importers alike, premium brands like the others. No discrimination should entail competition rules. If TWG really believes European legislations such as tyre labelling, tyre noise directive [S-marking] or REACH are trade barriers, a dispute in WTO can always be raised.
We would also like to make it clear that ETRMA does not influence at all ETRTO, which doesn’t push legislations to the European Commission. Actually, legislations introduced by the EC do cost a lot of money to the tyre industry (European or not) and are a real concern as they require millions of Euros of investments. ETRMA does advocate for a level playing field since the non respect of European legislations by some players translates into lower costs, hence lower selling prices in Europe and therefore an unfair competitive advantage. It might be worth reminding your readers that ETRMA members do employ several tens of thousands of people in Europe as well.
Contrary to what the reported speech seems to imply, I would like also to draw your readers’ attention to the fact that Europe is not alone in imposing tyre regulations. Countries such as Korea, China or India also have very strict legislations for tyres, in some cases differing for imports versus those applying to local manufacturers. However in Europe any local and importing producers who wish to sell their tyres on the European Union markets are required to respect the EU laws; ETRMA members do respect these legislations.
Last but not least, concerning the 3mm issue, our members do not think that it will solve the safety problem. We agree with Mr Croft that fighting against illegal tyres under 1.6mm is urgent and does require the authorities’ attention and action. In the case of the UK, the BTMA is actively working on this issue, together with other members of the Tyre Industry Federation.
It was indeed a pity that ETRMA could not positively respond to the invitation of the TWG but ETRMA board members’ agendas made it impossible for anybody to attend this lunch. ETRMA and its members do however remain available to discuss constructively any tyre related issue with the TWG or any member of TIF.