A tyre is a global product par excellence; when you look at the tyre side wall you will find that several different codes and markings are embossed (pressed) on it, indicating approval of conformity and other technical information to authorities and consumers all around the world. General Rubber Goods products vary from childcare to medical care while the biggest consumer is the automotive industry, itself a global and highly competitive industrial sector. For these reasons trade is of utmost importance for ETRMA and it fights intensively against market access barriers.

The flipside of the coin in having difficulties in accessing the markets outside the EU is the too easily accessible EU market. ETRMA fully supports open and free trade, but currently we are lacking a proper post-market surveillance to make sure that imported products do meet the safety and environmental requirements of the EU legislation. Recent industry reports show that this is not always the case.

Furthermore, fair and sustainable access to, and supply of, raw materials remains high on the trade agenda. Access to raw materials is one of the fundamental elements of a competitive manufacturing industry. Europe is import-dependent on many crucial raw materials, one of which being natural rubber, whose trade is affected by geographically-concentrated suppliers, skyrocketing prices and unprecedented global demand. All of this has an impact on strategically important sectors for society such as healthcare, medical science and transport. The EU must therefore pursue an international consensus in support of undistorted trade in raw materials. They should insist on binding requirements against export restrictions in FTAs and other trade agreements, especially when negotiating with dominant producers of raw materials that do not exist in the EU, such as for natural rubber produced in India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Finally, the new EU trade policy, announced in November 2010 (COM(2010)612), is key to developing European economic well-being. The policy has the right aims but a lot depends on its implementation: it is high time to start in a coordinated and determined manner to fight back against the ever increasing number of non-tariff barriers we face in so many parts of the world.