WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) represents a $148.4 billion industry that directly or indirectly employs 737,000 workers in the U.S. Tire Business asked USTMA President and CEO Anne Forristall Luke her thoughts on the path forward for domestic tire manufacturers in 2018.
Q: With the year nearing its halfway point, how would you describe the state of the association in 2018?
A: The state of the association is very strong. The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association celebrated its one-year anniversary with a new name and a renewed commitment to telling the stories of the U.S. tire manufacturing industry: safety through innovation, significant economic impact and environmental stewardship and sustainability.
We recently welcomed Giti Tire U.S.A. as our 12th member. We are proud that we've grown from eight to 12 members — 50-percent growth — in just two years. And we look forward to continuing that trend with new U.S. plants being planned by Nokian and Triangle Tire, among others.
We are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency in advancing regulatory proposals of significant importance to the industry, including development of the tire performance standards under the 2015 FAST Act and major new rules under the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Also, our members presented a substantive case in opposition to the Trump administration's imposition of the Section 232 steel tariffs on imported steel wire rod, which is critical to U.S. tire manufacturing.
Working on behalf of our members, USTMA is developing a Sustainability Vision for the U.S. tire manufacturing industry, which we will be talking more about later this year. As part of the Sustainability Vision, USTMA will continue its work on improving and expanding scrap tire markets, such as rubberized asphalt.
Q: What are some of the pleasant surprises you are seeing for the USTMA and/or its members? What has surprised you most?
A: We are encouraged by the common-sense, tire-related regulatory reform initiatives announced by NHTSA in the latest Unified Regulatory Agenda. In particular, NHTSA announced it will be reviewing outdated tire testing regulations, including the bead unseat test and the strength (plunger energy) test. Both requirements were initiated 40 years ago for bias-ply tires.
We are also encouraged by the recent policy interpretations to streamline permitting requirements under the federal Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) permitting program.
NSR requires industrial facilities to install modern pollution control equipment when a new facility is built or when changes are made to an existing facility that significantly increase emissions. NSR can lead to long processing times for permits and costly emissions control requirements for USTMA members.