WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved the tire industry's petition to begin rulemaking on the industry's ``Global Tire Standard 2000'' plan. L. Robert Shelton, NHTSA associate administrator for safety performance standards, sent a two-paragraph letter in early June to Donald B. Shea, president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, granting the petition.
GTS-2000, approved by tire makers last November at a meeting in Charlotte, N.C., will harmonize global passenger tire testing procedures and labeling criteria. It should reduce unnecessary and duplicative testing, removing an important trade barrier in worldwide commerce for tires, according to the industry.
Goodyear, Group Michelin, Pirelli S.p.A., Continental General Tire Inc. and Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. signed off on GTS-2000 at the meeting sponsored by the Transatlantic Business Dialogue—a project between the Clinton administration and the European Union to harmonize product standards throughout the world.
The major Japanese tire companies—Bridgestone Corp., Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. and Ohtsu Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd.—were kept apprised of the development and provisions of GTS-2000, and their CEOs sent letters in support of the program to their government.
NHTSA should issue a timeline for rulemaking on GTS-2000 within the next several weeks, said Isabel Jasinowski, Goodyear vice president of government relations.