The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC)

Tire and Rubber Industry Navigates the New Normal in International Trade

The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, (TRAC) held its biennial Tire & Rubber Summit on June 19 and 20 in King City, Ont. The precursor of the Summit dates back more than 30 years, and its core value remains constant to this day—bring together C-level executives to reveal latest trends, collaborate, and address key issues and developments affecting the global tire industry with the spotlight on Canada.

“Canadian manufacturers and suppliers face profound challenges brought on by global economic and political changes,” says Glenn Maidment, President of the Association. “The NAFTA renegotiation undoubtedly represents the core sign of times of the global challenges facing Canada. But trade agreement between Canada and the E.U., as well as potential agreements within Mercosur in South America, and a pivot toward China cannot be discounted when it comes to their potential profound effect on Canada. We want to create conversation on how such fundamental changes challenge not just how the tire and rubber industry approaches business, but how we approach business in Canada.”

Regarding international trade and NAFTA, McMaster University’s Automotive Policy Research Centre discussed the deep integration of the automotive sector throughout United States, Mexico and Canada, and Royal Bank of Canada provided its economic outlook for Canada, discussing the strengthening employment, rebound in the energy investment, and consumers as factors for continued growth in 2017.

The Summit did not omit the global outlook on material supply as well as energy challenges. IHS Markit, world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets, provided perspective and insights on global rubber market dynamics and petrochemical outlook. Cabot Corporation, leading global specialty chemicals and performance materials producer, reviewed the markets for vital tire chemicals such as carbon black; and – closer to home ¬– Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator discussed energy planning, conservation, supply, grid operations, and opportunities for Ontario’s manufacturing sector.

Besides trade and materials challenges, with TRAC representing the broadest wealth of knowledge when it comes to tire recycling and stewardship in Ontario and across Canada, the event also brought updates on the latest developments concerning the new Waste-Free Ontario Act, the next steps in implementing the new legislation, and insights into the vision for the future tire recycling landscape in Ontario. With tire recycling in Ontario transitioning in 2019, TRAC revealed the establishment of eTracks Tire Management Systems by the Canadian tire producers, the first organization to come forth and offer end-of-life tire management services in this new competitive market.

“Global trade, resources outlook, and changes to the Ontario waste diversion are all crucial issues to the tire industry in Canada,” says Maureen Kline, VP of Public Affairs and Sustainability for Pirelli Tire North America, and current Chair of the Association Board of Directors. “Our industry is highly integrated globally. Natural rubber is sourced from Asia and Africa, while synthetic rubber relies on petroleum production; and the industry correlates directly with the automotive industry and its challenges. In this light, trade relationships, production, market access, and logistics represent complex market variables when making strategic business decisions. That’s why the information brought forward at the Summit is essential when we ask questions and seek answers about our markets in Canada and across North America.”