Chinese regulators say standardization in the tire labeling industry is a major goal moving forward, but in its position as a major international importer, the country will rely heavily on standards abroad to help mold its own label compliance guidelines.
At the Lanxess Rubber Day China conference in early December, a ministry official revealed that the country has been looking to develop tire label compliance guidelines for some time. Jiang Jian, of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said research has begun to compare existing supply chain standards to more ideal conditions. China's influence in the global marketplace will play a part in this research.
"China's tire industry is highly dependent on exports, and for this reason we stipulate that the tire manufacturers already step up to the challenge of adhering to indirect guidelines such as those in place in the EU – and this is something they are more than capable of," Jian was reported as saying by multiple news outlets.
Currently, mandatory government-regulated tire labeling doesn't really exist in China. As Jian points out, the country's tire manufacturers mostly comply with whatever international guidelines the materials they import abide by. Whether those regulations follow popular international standards – such as GS1 – were unclear.
However, the country's push to standardize an industry's supply chain is certainly encouraging, and it may be reflective of an overall increase focus on manufacturing regulations seen in other Chinese industries – particularly the food and beverage sector.
And China is not the only East Asia country to take steps toward standardization in tire manufacturing. Reports say South Korea will ease into new label compliance guidelines by encouraging voluntary labeling starting in November 2012, a push designed to parallel the country's overall focus on improved sustainability and efficiency in consumer products.