The fall in natural rubber (NR) imports as announced by the Rubber Board has much to do with the increased domestic availability of the commodity, according to the tyre industry. Recently Rubber Board had released fresh data for the financial year 2016-17 that showed NR imports declining by 7% as production moved up by 22% during the year.
Commenting on the latest release of numbers by Rubber Board, Satish Sharma, chairman, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) said, “With improving availability of NR in domestic markets, there is a perceptible drop in NR import.
“That lends credence to the industry’s position that NR imports are taking place to meet the domestic deficiency or in view of non-availability of certain grades of rubber on quality parameters.” Certain NR growing interests have been alleging that the domestic NR production in India has been declining in view of imports contracted by the industry while industry has been maintaining that this was the other way round, he said, in a release by ATMA.
Responding to the claim that NR imports are down in view of domestic prices ruling lower than international prices, ATMA said that even when the domestic NR prices were ruling 20% higher than international prices, domestic production was getting fully consumed by the industry with hardly any exports. That reaffirms the contention of NR consuming interests that there is acute deficit of NR in the country.
“Tyre industry is all for a vibrant domestic NR sector and has shown its commitment by aligning with Rubber Board in various measures aimed at increasing productivity and quality of domestic rubber. It is time, different stakeholders chart out a strategy so that industry gets access to quality rubber at competitive prices while NR growers get adequately compensated”, ATMA chairman pointed out, in the release.