European rubber associations join up for information campaign

The rubber industry associations of Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain with the support of the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) have launched a campaign providing information on the general rubber goods (GRG) industry and the challenges it is facing.

“The GRG industry is fundamental and yet mostly unknown to the general public as well as to policy makers” said Ms Fazilet Cinaralp, Secretary General of ETRMA, introducing the initiative. For this reason, the industry saw the need of publishing information clarifying why “rubber is unique, strategic, not replaceable and an enabler for other industries”.

From aerospace to aeronautic, from the depth of the seas to the depth of the earth, from agriculture to household appliances, rubber products are everywhere and serve all kinds of industries, whose products could not function without the often small technical rubber products.

The industry is characterised by:

  1. high investment in advanced technologies in order to keep up with evermore demanding downstream sectors. These, combined with the characteristics of rubber, make such products strategic, unique and not replaceable.
  2. by small and medium enterprises. As their products are niche and essential, these companies – despite their size – are often at the centre of a worldwide trading network.

There is not yet a Single Market for a sensitive part of this industry: no harmonised EU framework for rubber products in contact with food and drinking water, or harmonised test methods. This means that different standards apply in different countries and that the industry and consumers cannot benefit from the EU Single Market.

This particular mix of high technology, research and innovation investments, small-sized companies and intensive trading presents a particular set of challenges to the industry.

The communication focuses on the four main challenges of the General Rubber Goods industry:

  • Red Tape
  • The regulatory Herculean task
  • The need of a Single Market for rubber products in contact with food and drinking water
  • The need to bridge the skills gap.

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