Brussels – The World Forum on Automotive Regulations of the United Nations adopted new internationally harmonised rules for passenger car tire certification known as Global Technical Regulations, GTR, today (14 Nov), despite the US abstaining from the vote in Brussels.
Speaking to ERJ on the condition of anonymity, a source close to the debates said that the US, “in a surprising move”, abstained while other countries, namely the EU, China, Canada, India, Japan and Russia voted for the new regulations.
“Therefore, the regulations are not binding on them [US],” noted the source, adding: “The adoption of a new GTR on tires developed under the UN’s international agreement on vehicle construction will ensure that the same testing procedure is adopted not only by Europe, but also by other countries such as Canada, Japan, China, India and Korea, hence reducing market-entry technical barriers and ultimately facilitating trade between major automotive markets.”
“It is really surprising that the US abstained, as the new regulations were mostly compatible with American standards. To put it in a simple way, the passenger car regulations were in line with the EU regulations and the light truck ones were mostly in line with American legislations,” he said.
GTR is a bid to bring closer the tire regulations of the EU and the US, as well as other international players. However, with the US abstaining, what is not yet harmonised at this stage is EU-US legislation.
“This concerns mainly the way to measure physical dimensions, the high speed test for cars/light truck tyres and the rolling resistance included in the EU legislation,” the source added.
The US is the second most important destination for EU tire exports and yet both sides have strong divergent approaches to regulations and market surveillance.
The EU is system is based on the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) 1958 agreement regulation, while the US one is based on regulations promulgated by the DOT-NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
The UNECE system is based on type approval, while that of the US is based on self-certification and strong market surveillance.