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Letter to the Editor: TIA Disagrees with Column

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Dear Jim:
We are writing in response to your July 20, 2015 commentary An Open Invitation to the RMA and TIA: Let’s Meet and Talk and we have to disagree with the basic premise that the two national trade associations do not presently speak. Over the past few years, TIA and RMA have continued to “speak with one voice” on several legislative issues like tire service life, tire repair, and unsafe used tires, so the commitment to improve relations has been genuine, effective, and consistent. We remain in agreement on those subjects and regularly discuss industry issues. Last November, RMA’s Dan Zielinski was a guest speaker at TIA’s Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas and TIA staff communicates with the RMA via phone and email throughout the year.

The current mandatory tire registration proposal from the RMA is definitely an issue where we do not agree. Tire manufacturers believe that the solution to low registration rates is returning to the mandatory system. They are not alone in that belief as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shared similar views with TIA when we met earlier this year. On the other hand, the independent tire dealers represented by TIA believe that the current voluntary system can be reformed without placing additional regulatory burdens on small businesses. By now it should be obvious that neither side is going to compromise their position.

Despite that fundamental disagreement, relations between TIA, RMA and the tire companies are as strong as ever. TIA is continuing the tradition of annual meetings with the tire companies to discuss the many ways we are working together to improve the industry. In the first of those meetings this year, there was healthy and constructive dialogue regarding tire registration but neither position changed. We have several meetings scheduled over the next few months and expect that the professional spirit of “agreeing to disagree” over tire registration will continue.

Although we appreciate your offer to host a meeting, we respectfully decline. Both organizations have clearly stated their goals and the conversations are continuing so we know where we stand at all times. If we reach a point where the two sides need to come together, then it will happen privately.

The 2015 TIA Board of Directors

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