Leigh Merino, MEMA vice president of regulatory affairs, discussed the global growth of the automotive aftermarket at the recent “Conference on Aftermarket – Global Trends and Opportunities” hosted by ACMA. The conference, held concurrently with ACMA Automechanika New Delhi, attracted about 130 attendees. The trade show has more than doubled in floor space and attendance since it was launched in 2013, attracting more than 500 companies from 16 countries at this year’s event.
Merino spoke on two panels. The first presentation, “Global Outlook, and Aftermarket Opportunities,” addressed current U.S. trade policies and opportunities in the global aftermarket. She gave an update on current U.S. trade actions, including the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and quotas; Section 301 tariffs on imports from China; Section 232 investigation on autos and parts; and, the recently signed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or the “new” NAFTA. Also noteworthy, Merino highlighted that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is starting to evaluate the U.S.-India trade relationship and gave a few examples of recent activities.
She noted that the global aftermarket is huge, stable and attractive. It also is diverse, with the U.S. ranking as the largest aftermarket and China as the fastest growing aftermarket. In the U.S., the car population is reaching a record age, with a growing number of vehicles reaching the prime age for replacement of parts, the aftermarket’s “sweet spot.”
The second panel was about standards and best practices. Merino gave a verbal presentation providing a high-level overview of the U.S. regulatory process and the current U.S. regulatory environment as well as noting the work being done under the U.N. World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (a.k.a. WP.29), to which India is a signatory to the 1998 Agreement. In this vein she gave a general caution about market access that trading partners should be cognizant of potential technical and non-technical barriers to trade.
Merino also noted there are good opportunities government-industry collaboration on policy and standards development – particularly on advanced technologies. Organizations like industry trade associations, the SAE International and ISO can be key collaborative partners with government agencies. She concluded by urging companies to stay active and engage with their trade associations to advocate for industry best practices, technical standards and, as appropriate, balanced, technology-neutral, data-driven, performance-based regulations.
For more information, contact Leigh Merino.