AKRON-The world´s tire makers need to find ways to harmonize a growing number of national technical tire labeling standards that threaten to swamp the tire industry in paperwork and added costs, according to Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. CEO Francesco Gori.
Speaking to an audience of tire technicians attending the 25th annual Tire Society meeting, Gori called these labeling requirements-some already in force, others being considered-"technical barriers to trade."
"Most (of these requirements) do not help the tire industry," he said. "They may help one or the other-individual company or national industry-but not the industry as a whole."
In particular Gori cited national technical regulations coming into force in nations like China, Indonesia and Nigeria as examples of these restrictions. Taken to their extreme, these types of regulations would require tire makers to mold technical specifications on the sidewalls for the respective countries.
At the same time, there are several new rules and regulations being promulgated in different parts of the world covering the environment, health, safety and mobility that eventually will impact the tire industry as well, he said.
Among these are the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union Green Paper on Energy Efficiency and the European Union´s REACH (registration, evaluation, authorization of chemicals), he said.
Under REACH, for example, European tire makers have agreed to phase out the use of polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbon-rich extender oils-considered a human health risk under certain circumstances-in their tires, Gori said. Now they want all tires sold in Europe to meet these restrictions as well.
"But how will imported tires be measured and by whom?" he asked.
The REACH program covers more than 30,000 chemicals in its database, including 4,000 or so used in tire manufacturing, he said, and each represents $60,000 to $1 million in costs to get them tested and catalogued.
The top executives of 11 of the world´s largest tire companies already have started meeting to discuss harmonization under the umbrella of the CEO Tire Industry Project, under the auspices of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, a United Nations-sponsored body, Gori said.