TYRE manufacturers’ body ATMA expressed concern over consistent decline in availability of natural rubber in the domestic market which has hit tyre units.In its communication to Ministry of Commerce & Industry, ATMA said that in such situation industry needs to take recourse to import of natural rubber, which is highly taxed, to meet the growing deficit.“While natural rubber import is imperative to meet the domestic demand, the policy environment is highly restrictive. Not only custom duty is steep 25 per cent, there are further challenges in accessing natural rubber,” Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) Director General Rajiv Budhraja said in a statement. Government has removed port restrictions on the import of natural rubber under advance authorisation, however industry was looking for removal of port restrictions for all natural rubber imports since import of NR is imperative to keep the factories running, he added.
ATMA has also expressed concern over lack of timely availability of data on natural rubber which is hampering the planning exercise at tyre industry.“As against the standard practice of release of monthly data in the first week of next month, the production, consumption data is being released by Rubber Board very late. Industry had no clue about the natural rubber production patterns during the current fiscal even though a quarter had elapsed,” Budhraja said.
According to latest figures released by the Rubber Board, the production has contracted significantly by 16 per cent in the first two months of ongoing fiscal. Against production of 0.98 lakh tonnes in April-May 2017, only 0.82 lakh tonne production could be achieved in the first two months of the current fiscal, he added.Consumption on the other hand has risen 13 per cent to 2 lakh tonnes during the same period leaving a gap of 1.2 lakh tonnes, ATMA said.