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Our views on the EIP on Raw Materials

Scope

ETRMA greatly supports the launch of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials and in particular the inclusion of raw materials other than minerals in the scope of the work of the Partnership.

Natural Rubber is essential for the European tyre and general rubber goods industry and as such for a wide number of other industries which require these products in their own supply chain.

At present, 75% of Natural Rubber is used in the tyre sector and 93% of this originates from South East Asia. This means that the European Tyre Industry depends entirely on a Raw Material on whose supply the industry has no or very little control.

Natural Rubber's price stability and security of supply are essential to members of ETRMA.

Objectives

Given the total reliance on imports for the supply of natural rubber, the EIP objective – amongst others – of breaking this dependency and develop new instruments to ensure access to essential raw materials for the European industry could not be more fitting to the needs of the European Tyre and Rubber Industry.

To this end, ETRMA will work to ensure that the EIP will make significant progress towards ensuring transparency, diversification of supply and capacity building of natural rubber.

Furthermore, ETRMA strongly supports the swift implementation of the recommendations that will be delivered in the EIP Strategic plan, as foreseen by the current timeline of the European Commission.

Innovation mechanisms

The peculiarities of Natural Rubber as a raw material require targeted actions and mechanisms that can on the one hand reduce dependency from imports and on the other hand ensure that imports are not hampered by unfair behaviours.

To this end the following actions would be welcomed by ETRMA:

  • Promote the necessary dialogue between consuming and producing countries in all appropriate international fora, such as the G20, and more specifically for natural rubber, the IRSG.
  • Develop partnerships for foreign direct investment (private and public), through the creation of mechanisms that would allow for productivity increases and incite rubber production, in new as well as traditional areas. Increased cooperation with international organisations such as African Union would be welcome.
  • Support the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to reduce dependency on NR (i.e. to improve the yield and the processing of dandelion and guayule crops –the only known alternatives that may be grown on the EU territory). This would contribute to reduce the upward pressure on price and ensure sustainability.
  • Introduce binding measures against raw material export restrictions in FTA and other trade agreement negotiations; and address (sustainable) access to raw materials through political bilateral discussions, especially for example while setting up or deepening "comprehensive partnerships" between the EU and producing countries.
  • Ensure that the Natural Rubber Market is not distorted by unfair practices.