Seeking trade protection in terms of duty safeguard, the All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) has written to the government urging it to include non-tyre rubber goods in negative list in trade agreements with Asean, South Korea and Japan. Duty protection on finished rubber products will provide a level-playing field to the domestic manufacturers, particularly SMEs, says AIRIA.
Quoting a study conducted by Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG), sponsored by AIRIA, the rubber body said trade agreements with Asean, South Korea and Japan were losing propositions in the rubber product category.
The TSMG study, based on data from the ministry of commerce, traces three major trade agreements that India had signed between 2009 and 2011. These are the pacts with Asean (Association of South-East Asian Nations), South Korea and Japan. Trade deficit in non-tyre rubber products with these three trading partners has gone up from R651 crore in 2009 to R1,725 crore in 2013, says Niraj Thakkar, AIRIA president, quoting the TSMG study.
The industry outfit is unhappy that natural rubber is included in the negative list of trade agreements, instead of non-tyre rubber goods. It argues that small and medium rubber units have been at the receiving end of a barrage of cheap import of finished rubber goods over the last few years as a result of trade agreements.