WASHINGTON-A permanent labeling law proposed by a Mexican government agency has tire manufacturers concerned about the possible trouble and expense of having to mold all tires for the North American market with English and Spanish labels. The proposed rule was announced in mid-June by the Mexican trade agency SECOFI in response to Mexican product labeling concerns spurred by passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Because of concerns about possible falsification of temporary labels, SECOFI wants to require all product makers to create a permanent label, in Spanish, containing all product specifications and relevant consumer information.
U.S. tire makers question whether SECOFI will consider paper consumer information labels adequate, said Peter J. Pantuso, vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association. ``There's not a lot of room on a tire sidewall to mold much more information.''
He said there is also concern SECOFI may require permanent labeling on ``intermediate'' products, such as certain auto parts, which are not customarily purchased by consumers for end-use.
The RMA is consulting with the U.S. Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative about the issue, and will submit comments to SECOFI before its Sept. 20 deadline.
A spokesperson for the USTR said there is little cause for concern as yet, since the SECOFI rule is still in the proposal stage.
``We are urging people to come forward with their concerns about this proposal,'' the spokesperson said. ``We are helping to facilitate their making their opinions known to SECOFI.''