Agri Business

Pitch gets louder for review of import duty on natural rubber

K.R. Srivats A.M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on September 16, 2019

Falling domestic prices of natural rubber, coupled with increased imports, have prompted Kerala growers and their supporters to demand a review of its import duty structure.

A delegation of Members of Parliament from the ruling United Democratic Front in the State on Friday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a review of the duty structure.

The MPs urged the Government to move to a regime where import duty on natural rubber was pegged at 20 per cent. Currently, import duty on natural rubber is pegged at 20 per cent or Rs 20 a kilogram, whichever is lower.

With natural rubber (RSS4) prices falling to levels of about Rs 157 a kg and imports on the climb (over 2 lakh tonnes in 2012-13), the growers are keen to stave off imports through higher duty incidence.

Keeping the import duty on an ad-valorem of 20 per cent is expected to discourage imports, they contend. They are now pitching for doing away with the specific duty component.

The Kerala MPs said the Prime Minister talked to the Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, and asked him to look at the issue on Friday itself. “We had a meeting with Sharma and senior officials of the Commerce Ministry, including the Commerce Secretary and Rubber Board Chairman,” said Jose K Mani, MP from Kottayam. He said the delegation would have another meeting with the Ministry next Tuesday.

“We expect a result from this meeting,” Mani said, and hoped that the Centre would “positively” consider their plea.

“Decline in production and fall in price will have adverse impact on the rubber growers in coming months,” the MPs said in a memorandum to the Prime Minister. They said the international price of the rubber was higher than the domestic price and the import duty remain unchanged since 2010.

“As a result, the manufacturers can import natural rubber at a cheap rate and it further slashes the domestic price,” they said.

> srivats.kr@thehindu.co.in

> jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 23, 2013

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