Impact of EU ruling on local rubber

KUALA LUMPUR – Local rubber industry player must take heed and be prepared for the impact of the European Union’s legislation on rubber and rubber products.

UK-based Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre research director Dr Stuart Cook said the EU legislation which covered environmental, health and safety and medical devices directive, can influence similar legislation in other countries.

In the case of tyre, which is the largest single product market for rubber, Cook said the EU environmental legislation would be looking at tyre labelling particularly on safety performance, fuel effciency, wet grip and external rolling noise among others.

The EU tyre labelling regulations will be made mandatory for all tyres produced after July 2012 and on sale in the EU from November 2012, said Cook in his paper “Impact of European Legislation on the Rubber Market” at the Malaysian Rubber Board’s (MRB) International Economic Rubber Conference recently.
The EU environmental legislation will focus on tyre labelling particularly safety, performance and fuel effciency among others.

The EU health and safefy legislation pertaining to food contact regulation was aimed at preventing transfer of constituents or change the nature of food quality.

This applies to all food contact materials, of which rubber was one of the materials listed.

He noted that “all good contact materials and articles must be manufactured using Good Manufacturing Practice and be labelled with the symbol for food use.”

In time, all substances used for the manufacture of food contact materials and articles would likely need to be assessed for risk and to be authorised by the European Food Safety Authority, he added.

Despite the stringent legislation imposed by the EU, Cook pointed out that this could create opportunities for Malaysian rubber players to look at new rubber grades that can provide tyre with greater safety, fuel economy or increased use of recycable and sustainable materials.

MRB director-general Datuk Dr Salmiah Ahmad said the 130-year old local rubber industry was heading towards the second frontier of sustainability.

“There is need to optimise resource utilisation in the entire upstream, midstream and downsteam of the sector,” she added.

In addition, players must look at creating the markets for speciality rubber and value-added products for dry rubber and latex.

Top Glove Corp Bhd managing director Lee Kim Meow said the attraction to venture into offshore investments among rubber glove makers was mainly attributed to tax incentives, readily available resources, cheap labour and the overall diversification plan of the company.

Source: Bursa Community