Industry seeks removal of import duty on natural rubber

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A plantation worker drying natural rubber sheets at Malamapuzha in Palakkad. File

A plantation worker drying natural rubber sheets at Malamapuzha in Palakkad. File
| Photo Credit: K. K. Mustafah

The All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) has urged the government to not impose any further restriction on import of rubber compounds.

Ramesh Kejriwal, president of AIRIA, said the industry imported 1,12,500 tonnes in 2021 under “4005 Compounded rubber, unvulcanised, in primary forms or in plates, sheets or strip” category to make products such as conveyor belts, hoses, O ring and profiles. The current duty on it is basic duty 10%, IGST 18%, and surcharge 10%.

Also, the import duty on natural rubber is at present basic duty 25%, additional duty 5%, and surcharge 10%. Indian production of natural rubber does not meet the demand (consumption) of 12.38 lakhs tonnes (2021-2022).

The government should remove the import duty on natural rubber and should not impose any further restriction on import of compound rubber, he said.

Mr. Kejriwal added that India does not produce rubber EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and its prices have doubled due to the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and fluctuations in exchange rates. The government should not only encourage production of rubber EPDM, which is synthetic rubber, but also reduce the import duty on it for short-term.

The Indian rubber industry manufactures all types of rubber products and so there should not be duty concessions in trade agreements with other countries for rubber products, he said in a memorandum to the Union government.

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