So far, the new year is proving to be eventful and unpredictable.
We’ve witnessed a curious start to 2022, with positive and negative influencers pushing and pulling us in different directions. Just when we all heaved a sigh of relief at the prospect of putting COVID-19 in the rear-view mirror, new global challenges and opportunities arrived at our doorstep. Even the “Twosday” (aka February 22, 2022, an important day for new beginnings and transformation) did not bring much in terms of a new direction—metaphysical, economic, or otherwise.
In terms of 2022’s ‘pull’ so far, as I type these words, the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games have just ended. Bravo to all the Canadian athletes who participated and kudos to those who brought home medals. By total medal count, Canada ranked fourth overall, surpassed only by Norway, the ROC and Germany. Just around the corner is the Beijing 2022 Paralympics running from March 4 to 13—good luck to all the athletes and “Go Canada!”
Congratulations to Bridgestone who joined the Olympic movement as a TOP worldwide Olympic partner in 2014. The TOP programme is the highest level of Olympic sponsorship, granting category-exclusive marketing rights to the Summer, Winter and Youth Olympic Games to a select group of global partners. Bridgestone of course has a sporting heritage than extends more than one hundred years and even included Mark McMorris of Canada (a bronze medal winner in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle in Beijing) to its global roster of athlete ambassadors.
Pulling us further, the first quarter of any new year in the world of arts and entertainment is “awards season.” The Golden Globe Awards, the GRAMMYs, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Oscars are some of the many awards handed out between January and May to celebrate achievements in film and television. Not to be left out, TRAC recently launched a call for nominees for our inaugural Industry Leadership Awards program in the categories of Leader of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, Young Leaders, and Sustainability. Please consider nominating deserving individuals or companies for their commitment and dedication to excellence in the tire and rubber industry before April 15. You can find all information about the awards along with link to the nomination form here.
When it comes to 2022’s ‘push’, I am sure many of us have been deeply alarmed and saddened by the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces. Several tire companies have factories in Russia and some, such as Finland’s Nokian Tyres have officially announced the shifting of key product lines from Russia to Finland and the United States in wake of the invasion and economic sanctions placed against Russia. Other manufacturers are likely considering their options as well.
On the import side of the trade balance (and according to www.realagriculture.com) Canada’s imports from Russia in 2020 totalled $1.19 billion, down from $1.92 billion in 2019. Significant 2020 imports include oil and coal, fertilizers, rare metals such as platinum, and tires. In fact, Canada imported $104 million worth of pneumatic tires from Russia in 2020.
It remains to be seen how tire and other companies with Russian facilities will respond to the incursion, how long the attack will last, and how government sanctions will unfold and impact tires and other imports. At TRAC we will be watching the situation closely, providing information as soon as it becomes available.
With the scales of push and pull in fragile balance this year so far, it is still everyone’s guess what the remainder of 2022 will bring, but, given that spring is just around the corner and along with it, the rebirth of nature; we hope to see a return to the path to peace, compassion, and mutual prosperity. In words of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Great Soul: “Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.”
Carol Hochu is President of the Tire & Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). You can reach her at [email protected]