The Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) don't have to agree on every tire industry-related issue.
In fact, with different constituencies as members-tire dealers, retreaders, wholesalers and recyclers for TIA, and tire and rubber product manufacturers and suppliers for the RMA-it's unlikely the two groups will see eye-to-eye on many topics.
Basically, one group makes the products the other sells, a situation that lends itself to differences in opinions.
However, to members of both organizations and for the health of the tire and rubber industry overall, it's crucial these two groups communicate regularly, in good faith, to ensure that topics of common interest get aired and agreements forged so the industry can offer a united position, whenever possible. But also so that it doesn't appear to outsiders that the two groups are squabbling.
That's why the news that TIA's and RMA's leaders have renewed their ``commitment to dialogue'' is so important. It means the groups have agreed to talk with each other about com-mon issues and in doing so help further the interests of the industry.
This spirit of cooperation has not always been evident and was compounded recently when the RMA withdrew its support of TIA's efforts to establish checkoff legislation for the tire industry, citing recent federal court reversals of several existing checkoff programs and industry opposition to it.
But out of contention sometimes comes a new spirit of cooperation. And it has come none too soon.
The tire industry today faces a myriad of tire safety and maintenance concerns as well as issues generated by the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act.
Some of these issues were outlined by TIA and RMA in a five-point, cooperative agenda an-nounced at a joint press conference at the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association Show.
These initial talking points cover: compliance with the TREAD Act; tire rolling resistance; tire service life; annual motor vehicle inspections; and tire pressure monitoring system training.
Those are serious issues that have huge consequences for the membership of both organizations as well as the industry overall.
The tire and rubber industries need RMA and TIA working to-gether for the betterment of the industry. Committing to dialogue is a great place to start. Let's hope that commitment sticks.