BRUSSELS, Belgium-Foreign trade and health and safety issues were among the top priorities in 1994 for BLIC, the European federation of rubber manufacturers' associations.
Bureau de Liaison des Industries du Caoutchouc de la Commaunite/Europe/enne spent a considerable amount of time on the Generalised System of Preferences-a tariff system which, in effect, subsidizes European Community imports originating in developing countries. The new arrangement means that Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand no longer benefit from these ``subsidies.''
Tires and inner tubes are defined as ``sensitive'' in the report. These products have the most protection, with GSP tariffs at 70 percent of nominal levels. Belting products are ``semi-sensitive'' and have duty levels 35 percent of nominal, while all other rubber products are defined as non-sensitive and have no import duty when imported from relevant countries.
BLIC also has reviewed relevant paragraphs of the harmonized system of the Customs Cooperation Council, including hose and belting, tires, inner tubes and ``other rubber goods''. These paragraphs will be filed with the commission ``in due course'' prior to the adoption by all 120 CCC member states in 1996.
On health and safety issues, BLIC is working on a number of areas including curing fume and mercaptobenzothiazole.
A proposal to impose limits on MBT migration limits prompted BLIC to ``produce several epidemiological studies on MBT which showed no harmful effects.''
BLIC finalized a document evaluating the health risks of exposure to curing fume, which will be forwarded to the commission when requested.
In response to a report from Sweden on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon residues from tires in service, BLIC prepared a report which quantified the volumes of PAH deposited in the environment and analyzed the effects on energy consumption if hydrocarbon aromatic oils were replaced with low aromatic oils. BLIC reports that there soon may be developments in replacing HA oils in used tires.