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‘Dumping’ of cheap tyres devastating retread tyre industry and the environment, says RMA

Posted on 09 November 2015

Last week, key representatives from the Retread Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the tyre industry met with ministers at the Department for Business to press for urgent measures to address the imminent threat already being felt across the UK and European retread industry. 

The RMA presented data illustrating how the ‘dumping’ of cheap tyres is having a devastating impact on the retread tyre industry with direct implications for employment, the tyre recovery programme and the environment.

The RMA argues that the evidence of ‘dumping’ taking place is clear by simply comparing the cost of raw material and the retail price of the Asian imports. For a truck tyre, which typically weighs 60 kilos, the materials cost approximately £1.16/kilo, giving an overall total cost of £70. Meanwhile, these tyre are retailing in the market at around £73, leaving a margin of just £3 for manufacturing, transportation, import duty and profit.

That is an impossibly low amount for a commercial operation to sustain without significant subsidies from a backing organisation or government.

The RMA is calling for urgent action to allow the UK retread industry to compete on an equal footing with the cheap and subsidised imports flooding in.

Without intervention, the future of 2,500 employees across the UK’s industry is under threat.

At the same time, without a successful domestic retread industry, three times more waste truck tyres will be disposed of across the UK, putting a an overwhelming strain on the tyre recovery programme.

At the meeting, Government representatives were reminded that of the €1 billion the industry generates across the European Union, 60 per cent is generated by SME businesses, which are particularly vulnerable to the impact of dumping practises.

Patrick O’Connell, Chairman RMA, who led the tyre industry deputation to ministers, said:  “We are calling on the British Government and European Commission to take immediate action on the ‘dumping’ of tyres into the UK and European markets.

“Our data supports the view that without intervention, the future of 2,500 employees, either directly or indirectly employed by the UK retreading industry, is under threat.

“This ‘dumping’ of cheap tyres is having an increasingly negative impact on our industry, with serious implications for employment, the tyre recovery programme and the environment. The RMA is seeking urgent changes which will allow the European-based retread industry to compete on an equal footing in the marketplace with the clearly subsidised, cheap imports flooding in from Asia.”

He added:  “We are committed to lobbying on behalf of the retread industry to secure its long-term future in the UK.”

Retread tyres have a proven track record in safety, value for money and the environment.

They are manufactured to high standards using highly sophisticated machinery. Since 2004 it has been a legal requirement for retreads to be manufactured according to ECE Regulations 108 (car tyres) and 109 (commercial vehicles tyres), which stipulates that tyres are tested to the same load and speed criteria as new tyres.

In terms of quality, integrity and performance, retreaded tyres are on a par with new tyres. They also do so with a substantial saving in raw materials as the retread process requires 68 litres less oil than is used in the production of a new tyre.

The reusability of the retread tyres means potentially up to three times fewer new tyres will need recycling at the end of their life. Unlike other forms of tyre recycling or disposal, retreading does not simply defer the eventual disposal of the tyre but actively contributes towards reducing the amount of tyres being used and hence saves valuable natural resources.

If operators switched entirely to the cheap, single-life tyres currently being ‘dumped’ in the marketplace, the increased volume requiring disposal would put an overwhelming strain on the tyre recovery programme.

Close-up on spinning truck wheels in motion