Upasi seeks moratorium on rubber imports

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on June 05, 2020 Published on June 05, 2020

The United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) has called for an immediate moratorium on natural rubber imports for a minimum period of two years to protect the domestic sector that provides livelihood to 1.3 million growers.

The opening stock of rubber in the country estimated at 3.4 lakh tonnes as on April 1 roughly equals six months of production, said RM.Nagappan, President, Upasi.

In a letter to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, the Upasi president pointed out that the natural rubber sector has been going through a phase of severe crisis due to the steep fall in prices for the last eight years. The main reason is unrestricted imports from South East Asia, he said.

The national lockdown has brought rubber production to a grinding halt and the situation is threatening the existence of the sector, Nagappan said. He requested the government to introduce a safeguard duty on rubber imports for a period of three years after the removal of natural rubber import suspension.

This will give time for the domestic rubber industry to recover from the damage caused by imports.

The import of rubber has increased, in absolute terms, from 77,762 tonnes in 2008-09 to 5,82,351 tonnes during 2018-19. Import as a percentage of production increased from 9 per cent in 2008-09 to 89.5 per cent in 2018-19, while imports as a percentage of consumption increased from 8.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent during the same period.

Indonesia (42.2 per cent), Vietnam (19.7 per cent), Malaysia (10.7 per cent) and Thailand (9.8 per cent) together accounts for 82.4 per cent of the total imports during 2018-19.

Published on June 05, 2020
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