TYRE manufacturers, who consume 54 per cent of India's natural rubber, have scaled up their projections for natural rubber imports in the current financial year by 10,000 tonnes to 70,000 tonnes.
According to Mr D. Ravindran, Director General of Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association (ATMA), as much as 65,000 tonnes of the imports would be duty free under the Advanced Licence Scheme.
Tyre makers can import 44 kgs of natural rubber under the Advanced Licence Scheme for every 100 kgs for tyres they export. India exported Rs 1,750 crore worth of tyres in 2004-05.
At the sidelines of the ongoing India International Commodity Fair here, Mr Ravindran told mediapersons that tyre exports would grow by 15 per cent in the current fiscal over the previous year.
This would automatically entitle the tyre industry to increase its imports under the Advanced Licence Scheme. During 2004-05, imports of natural rubber stood at 67,000 tonnes and in 2003-04 as against 44,199 tonnes in the year before that.
Mr Ravindran said rubber imports during the first quarter of the current fiscal would be around 25,000 tonnes.
In the corresponding quarter last year, natural rubber imports stood at 18,889 tonnes.
The tyre industry is expected to grow by an average seven per cent during the current fiscal.
Based on factors such as growth in GDP, number of vehicles and easy finance available to consumers, the tyre industry would achieve an average annual growth of six to 10 per cent in production over the next few years.