The idea was to update the way that this industry association was organised and position it to inform the European legislature on subjects relating to tyre and rubber manufacture. Following the completion of this changeover, Tyres & Accessories interviewed ETRMA secretary general, Fazilet Cinaralp and got a clearer picture of the role and function of the organisation.
Tyres & Accessories: The “European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association“ (ETRMA) was founded on Apr. 1. Why was it necessary to restructure the cooperation of tyre manufacturers in Europe after running BLIC for so many decades?
Fazilet Cinaralp: The European tyre and rubber manufacturers decided to modernise their European structure to give Industry the proper means to achieve the challenges faced at European and global levels and to anticipate further regulatory and market pressures. The main changes introduced concern the company corporate direct membership and the legal entity conferred to ETRMA as an international non-profit association as per Belgian law, i.e. AISBL. For example, this will allow participation to European funded programmes. In addition, on the global level, it will reinforce the European industry position
Tyres & Accessories: Who are the members of the ETRMA today and has it changed from when the association was known as BLIC?
Cinaralp: ETRMA membership is composed of tyre corporate members and national associations from major European markets: Tyre corporate members are: Bridgestone Europe, Continental, Cooper Tires, Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe, Marangoni, Michelin, Nokian Tyres, Pirelli Tyre, and Vredestein. National associations are: APIB (Portugal), Consorcio del Caucho (Spain), Federazione Gomma Plastica (Italy), Febelplast (Belgium), NVR (NL), RMAF (Finland), SGI (Sweden), SNCP (France), wdk (Germany).
The sector presence in EU25 is dynamic with 4,200 plants employing 360 000 people. It generates a turnover exceeding 42 billion euros. The tyre and rubber manufacturing industry accounts for 0.5% of the EU GDP. And eight European companies are in the worldwide top 20 leaders of the Rubber Sector. Compared to BLIC, the company corporate direct membership certainly reinforces the representativeness of the tyre manufacturers while providing a greater visibility when contributing to the EU institutions policy debates.
Tyres & Accessories: Why is it that not all European new tyre manufacturers are members of the ETRMA take Matador for example?
Cinaralp: The membership is open to any tyre manufacturer in Europe meeting the criteria for membership. I am glad to report that Trelleborg Wheel Systems will become an effective tyre corporate member from 2007.
Tyres & Accessories: What services do you offer to the European tyre manufacturers among your members?
Cinaralp: The association’s first mission is to defend the interests of the tyre and general rubber goods industry with governmental and/or intergovernmental bodies at European and international level and with the relevant national regional and international tyre and rubber manufacturers organisations in and outside Europe. To this end, ETRMA contributes and participates in the development of legislation, which may impact the sector at large such as in the fields of environment, health and safety, road transport, trade facilitation…while ensuring the continued competitiveness of the sector. My challenging task as Secretary General is to anticipate on the European Commission priorities and provide in the early steps the industry input in order to contribute effectively to the legislative reflection. An upstream coordination of the industry experts through dedicated groups is therefore essential to properly perform this task.
Tyres & Accessories: Like any other representative organisation, the ETRMA must surely follow the political and economical objectives for its members. What are these and how will you achieve these objectives?
Cinaralp: The European tyre and rubber manufacturers operate in a challenging political and economical market. Their main objective is to ensure their competitiveness meaning remaining key employers, producers and investors in Europe while making business in a global market.
Today the business framework is mainly characterised by tough market pressures, increasing regulatory impacts in various fields, and emergence of severe technical barriers to trade from markets such as China and India. These constraints are part of the objectives that industry needs to address. This can be done through a strong cooperation amongst our members along with a regular and constructive dialogue with the European institutions, including commission, parliament and member states.
Tyres & Accessories: What are the leading issues your association is addressing at the moment on behalf of its members?
Cinaralp: Our agenda is becoming always very busy! At the moment, important legislations are under discussion. These include: the new chemicals regulation (REACH) imposing additional requirements on downstream users such as the tyre and rubber industry, transport energy efficiency, end of life management and treatment, trade facilitation with emerging markets.
In addition tyres, as the only contact point of the vehicle with the road, maintaining optimal tyre pressure positively contributes to the European Commission objective of an improved road safety. This will require additional measures from the various actors (from authorities to users including industry) to increase drivers’ awareness.
As you see, there are many dossiers on the ETRMA agenda. This confirms the importance of Europe on the global scene and reveals the dynamism of the tyre industry, which was able to proactively develop appropriate tools to give itself the means to tackle these challenges.