TORONTO — U.S. and Canadian tire makers face multiple challenges on the regulatory front, and it is incumbent on them to know their responsibilities under the law.
This was the message three speakers delivered at "Driving to the Future," the 2019 Tire & Rubber Summit held June 12 in Toronto by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC).
North American tire makers must deal with the Canadian Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the U.S., according to Sarah Amick, vice president for environmental, health, safety and sustainability at the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA).
In place since 2006, the CMP is under the aegis of two Canadian ministries, according to Ms. Amick — Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada.
The goal of the CMP is to evaluate and manage substances deemed to be toxic, with some 4,300 substances to be evaluated by 2021, Ms. Amick said. The Phase III list, containing some 1,500 chemicals including several substances important to the tire industry, is being assessed, she said.
The CMP's draft screening assessment of zinc began in April and is due sometime in September, and a draft screening assessment for benzothiazoles is set to begin in October, with completion by March 2020, she said.
A final screening assessment of tetramethylthiuram disulfide (TMTD) is this summer, she said.
The TSCA is the primary federal chemical management law in the U.S., according to Ms. Amick. An updated version of the regulation passed in Congress with bipartisan support in 2016, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to work on implementation, she said.
Under the TSCA, she said, the EPA designates chemicals as being either low or high priority for risk assessment; evaluates those in the latter category; and imposes restrictions on those determined to present an unreasonable risk to human health.
Several substances used in tire manufacturing, including formaldehyde and 1,3-butadiene, are being evaluated under the TSCA, according to Ms. Amick.
The USTMA is responding to these and other TSCA challenges, she said, by:
- Educating the EPA about tire manufacturing and the materials used to make tires;
- Working with other chemical user associations;
- Working directly with chemical manufacturers; and
- Providing data to the EPA about tire materials.
Tire manufacturers also face challenges from state regulations, especially in California, according to Ms. Amick.
The USTMA has had to advocate for the industry in the case of California stormwater laws, she said. Because California municipalities cannot meet their stormwater permit limits for zinc, the state has tried to reduce zinc content in tires under its Green Chemistry law — a move that would be both totally ineffective and ruinous to tire makers, she said.
On the trade front, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has had its "Trusted Trader" program in place since December 2001, according to Michael Sherbo, director of appeals at Dominion Customs Consultants.
The Trusted Trader program, Mr. Sherbo said, provides a simplified, expedited clearance process for approved importers and carriers who ship eligible goods from the U.S. and Mexico.
"Importers can use their own business systems and processes, which must meet CBSA requirements, to account for the imported goods and report and remit payment of duties and taxes once a month through their own financial institutions," he said.
Trusted Traders enjoy reduced scrutiny at the Canadian border; access to FAST (Free and Secure Trade) lanes if they use registered drivers to transport goods; and various other programs, including an expedited clearance option for carriers and enhanced accounting and compliance procedures for importers, according to Mr. Sherbo.
Canada also is implementing the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project to streamline and simplify the importing process, Mr. Sherbo said.
Once fully implemented, CARM will provide a modern interface for importing goods into Canada; improve consistency and reduce costs; and give importers self-service access to their own information via a web portal.
"Under the future CARM environment, you will be able to manage your Trusted Trader programs and registration status," he said.
The first release of CARM functionality, in fall 2020, will provide Trusted Traders with new tools, including the web portal and online invoicing and payments, he added. Additional CARM functionality is due out with the second release in spring 2021.
Canada, like the U.S., is in the process of developing minimum tire-fuel-efficiency standards for replacement passenger tires, according to Pierrette LeBlanc, senior engineer within the Office of Energy Efficiency for Natural Resources Canada.
Such standards would be enacted under Canada's Energy Efficiency Act, which has been in effect since 1992, and were part of the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change and Budget for 2017-2018, Ms. LeBlanc said.
"A 10% improvement in rolling resistance can lead to a 1% to 2% increase in fuel economy," she said.
There is no regulatory requirement for testing replacement tire fuel efficiency in Canada, although the European Union has had one in place since November 2018, according to Ms. LeBlanc.
The U.S., through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), had a notice of proposed rulemaking on tire fuel-efficiency testing as early as 2009, two years before Natural Resources Canada first consulted with stakeholders about a fuel efficiency standard, she said.
NRCanada proceeded with a market analysis in 2018 and a cost-benefit analysis this year.
Canada is working toward harmonizing a fuel-efficiency standard with the U.S., but the rulemaking there has been delayed, she added. NHTSA has a new timeline of March 2020 to publish a proposed standard, she said.