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Govt hikes import duty on natural rubber; industry demands higher duty on finished goods

New Delhi, Dec 23 (KNN) For the sake of protecting the interest of farmers, Government has hiked the import duty on natural rubber to up to Rs 30 per kg to control the fall in domestic prices.

Finance Ministry said that, in recent months the prices of rubber have fallen considerably.
“The fall in prices is stated to be due to increased imports,” the Ministry added.
The basic customs duty on natural rubber has been increased to Rs 30 per kg or 20 per cent, whichever is lower, from Rs 20 a kg or 20 per cent whichever was lower.
The rubber manufacturers in Kerala said that the hike is not much so there wouldn’t be much impact on the prices of finished goods.
“We will not inflate the prices of our goods currently, as the hike is not much,” said Managing Director of Royal Rubbers, Tanty Joseph from Ernakulum in Kerala.
“Farmers will really benefit from this as they can now increase the prices of the raw material,” Joseph added.

However, the customs duty will now be at 20 per cent or Rs 30 per kg, whichever is lower as against Rs 20/kg or 20 per cent whichever is lower, earlier. 

Over 12 lakh farmers who are dependent on this crop for their livelihood are to be benefited, the Ministry said in a statement.

As per the Rubber Board data, India's import of natural rubber was 2,37,723 tonnes during April-November 2013, up 53 per cent from 1,55,075 tonnes in the year ago period.
Rubber imports this fiscal are projected to be a record three lakh tonnes against 2.17 lakh tonnes last fiscal.
 The price of natural rubber (RS-4) has dropped from of a high of Rs 195 a kg in July and August to Rs 156 a kg on Saturday at Kottayam, Kerala.
Earlier, in October, the industry body All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) had put up a representation before the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Director General of Foreign Trade, saying that low import duties on finished have rendered Indian manufacturing of rubber products by SMEs uncompetitive in several product areas.

According to All India Rubber Industries Association, President, Niraj I Thakkar, about 2 million people are employed in the rubber industry and there are about 5000 rubber units in the country in different SME clusters.
“The import of finished rubber products has gone up massively in the last three years from Rs 3,810 crore to Rs 7,608 crore in 2012-13,” Thakkar told KNN.

“High import duty should be imposed on the import of finished rubber products rather than the raw material,” he said adding that the manufacturers pay more import duty for key raw materials.
In countries like China, Pakistan, the import duties are more on the finished goods than on the raw materials.

“The market is too bad currently. The government should do something to protect the rubber industry which is suffering due to less demands and growing cost of production,” Thakkar added.