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Washington D.C.-based Rubber Manufacturers Association filed formal comments with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative in mid-January, protesting Mexico's newly-imposed regulations that require all tires imported into Mexico undergo testing and certification by designated Mexican labs. Under new rules, sample tires representing every branded product line imported into Mexico from the U.S. must be tested at designated Mexican labs and certified as meeting Mexican standards. RMA president, Tom Cole, said the action "...constitutes the imposition of non-tariff, technical barriers to hemispheric free trade, and as such violates the spirit - if not the letter - of the North American Free Trade Agreement." Cole also noted that of the 60 products Mexico wants certified, U.S.-made tires are already subject to the most stringent safety and performance requirements. The Mexican government's tire safety standards are identical to the U.S. standards which were established in 1966, Cole added. Approximately 3.4 million tires were exported into Mexico from the U.S. in 1991, the last year for which figures are available.

* The RMA presented Safety & Health Improvement Excellence Awards to the following 27 rubber company plants for compiling the best employee injury/illness prevention records during 1991:

* Bridgestone/Firestone - LaVergne, TN; Russellville,

AR; and Warren County, TN

* General Tire - Mount Vernon, IL

* Oliver Rubber - Export, PA

* Goodyear Tire & Rubber - Mount Pleasant, IA

* Titan Industries - South Gate, CA

* Garlock Mechanical Packing, Division of Colt Industries

- Palmyra, NY

* National Seals - Frankfort, IN and Summerton, SC

* Acadia Division of J.M. Clipper - Clifton Forge, VA;

Ligonier, IN; Marion, NY; and Paragould, AR

* Associated Rubber - Quakertown, PA

* Clevite Elastomers - Angola, IN and Napoleon, OH

* GenCorp Automotive - Berger, MO

* Goshen Rubber - Wilson, NC

* Beloit Manhattan - Clarks Summit, PA and Columbus,


* Carlisle Syntec Systems - Carlisle, PA; Greenville, IL;

and Wylie, TX

* Reeves Brothers - Grace, NC

* Reeves Rubber - Albertville, AL

* Carolina Rubber Rolls, Division of Thermoid/HBD Industries

- Greenville, SC

* The International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers merged its Latin and North American Sections, creating a unit called the Americas Section. The new section consists of 13 synthetic rubber member-manufacturers in the United States, one in Canada (Polysar), one in Mexico (Negromex), and three in Brazil. To accommodate the latter three member-manufacturers, IISRP created a Brazilian Division within the framework of the Americas Section. The new structure will not affect the existing Europe and Far East Sections.

* Because of lackluster new car sales in 1992 and more light truck vehicles using passenger tires, the level of replacement passenger tires produced during the year set a new annual record, beating 1991's total by 4%.

Shipments of replacement tires for passenger cars in 1992 should reach 161.5 million units, up from 155.4 million units in 1991. The Tire Market Analysis Committee of the RMA predicts a slower growth rate for this sector over the next two years, rising to 163.5 million units by 1994. A slight upward shift in new car builds caused the committee to revise its prior prediction of original equipment tires shipped in 1992 to 46 million units.

Import levels for passenger tires are anticipated to come in just below 38 million units in 1992, marking the third straight year of decline from the historic high of 44 million units in 1989. This trend is expected to continue as some importers develop domestic production capacity.

Performance and speed rated tires continue to be viewed as the stronger segments of the passenger tire market, with |92 shipments of all-season speed-rated tires exceeding |92 shipments by more than 30%.

OE light truck tire demand and replacement levels should reach 25.5 million units, rising modestly above the 24.8 million level achieved in 1991. This number is expected to continue rising slowly as the economy recovers, reaching 27 million units by the end of 1994. Light truck tire imports are expected to be only 3 million units, the second year in decline from the historic high of 3.7 million units in 1990.

For other truck (medium, wide base and heavy) tire demand, OE levels should approach 3.3 million units, with replacement units reaching 10.7 million. Imports of both medium and heavy truck tires will continue to show a decline while wide base will show an increase. Total imports for 1992 will approach the 1991 level of 3.9 million units.
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Title Annotation:includes multiple briefs on various topics
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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