ERJ staff report (DS)
Milan, Italy Â -- Francesco Gori, speaking in his capacity as president of the ETRMA has said clearly that if new rules covering wet grip and noise are to be imposed on tyre makers, then the EU needs to enforce these rules on imported tyres.
In the interview with Reuters, Gori is quoted saying, "There are not enough resources to control this invasion of products that do not conform to European standards."
The article plays the point very firmly that while EU manufacturers welcome stricter rules covering safety, it costs money to meet those rules. If importers are not rigorously held to the same standards, then the EU manufacturers are at a competitive disadvantage.
The article is not yet on line, but the text is as follows (credit to Gilles Castonguay of Reuters)
MILAN, April 23 (Reuters) - Tyre makers in Europe fear that new standards that the European Commission wants to impose will make it more difficult to compete against their Asian rivals.
Francesco Gori, president of European tyre industry association ETRMA, said he fears the rules will put ETRMA members at a disadvantage because Asian makers of low-cost tyres can ignore the standards and avoid spending the extra money to conform to them.Although they would like low-cost Asian tyres to meet the same standards as their own, it is difficult to keep them in check as they arrive at Europe's ports in their millions."There are not enough resources to control this invasion of products that do not conform to European standards," Gori said in an interview on Wednesday. "It's very complicated to find a solution."
Gori is also chief executive of Pirelli Tyre
. His association includes some of the biggest players in the industry such as Michelin , Continental and Bridgestone .The standards proposed by the Commission, the executive body of the European Union, are aimed at improving the safety and the environmental performance of tyres, such as roll resistance, and Gori accepts most of them.But he said, "You can use cheaper materials if you make tyres that do not meet the standards." "We would want that even the tyres that are imported in Europe met the same standards."
SAFETY AT RISK
Asian tyre makers control between 10 percent and 20 percent of the market in Europe, Gori said, adding that they were expanding every year at a double-digit rate.They compete mostly in the replacement market, where one in five drivers buys low-cost tyres, he said.Gori did not name any of the Asian competitors, but he said they were based in countries like China, Korea and Indonesia. China is the world's biggest tyre maker and exporter. Last year, it shipped about 157 million tyres overseas.Gori highlighted safety as another risk posed by low-cost tyres, saying a car using them usually took longer to come to a stop when braking.Doubts about the safety of products from China have arisen in the past after a series of scares involving food and toys. The country's government has insisted the problems were limited and most of what was exported met European standards.Gori said he was looking at approaching authorities in major markets like France and Germany to discuss ways to deter the sale of tyres that did not conform to these future standards."(We would want) severe ... penalties to make an example," he said.Another way would be to raise consumer awareness. "It is more difficult with tyres because with toothpaste (for example) I use it every day and I'm aware of it. With tyres, I buy them once every two years on average, so it's less thought about," he said.(Editing by Quentin Bryar)