London - The International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) has announced that the Government of India will join the Group on 1 April 2006.
According to a statement form the IRSG, India's total rubber consumption has been increasing at an annualised rate of 6.8 percent since 1960, to 968,000 tonnes in 2004. This makes India the fourth largest rubber consuming country, behind China, the USA and Japan. Both tyre and non-tyre sectors have enjoyed steady growth during 1977-2004. In 2004, the tyre rubber consumption share is estimated at 54.8 percent. In both sectors, the share of natural rubber (NR) to synthetic rubber (SR) has been relatively stable, with the non-tyre sector having a slightly higher NR share of 78.8 percent as compared to 75.5 percent for the tyre sector. This compares with a global average closer to 40 percent NR.
One reason for consumption of NR being retained at a relatively high percentage of total consumption, said the IRSG, was a heavily protected market. The Indian domestic industry was heavily protected from imports by means of tariffs and countervailing duties applied to imports of rubber from specified countries. External producers were unable to make significant sales in the Indian market due to the high domestic price that prevails due to the tariff barriers.
Over 70 000 tonnes of reclaimed rubber is produced in India each year. Most of it is consumed in the country, overwhelmingly for general rubber goods end-uses.
India produces both NR and SR, but far more natural rubber than synthetic. Indian production of NR has grown at an annualised rate of 8 percent from around 25 000 tonnes in 1960 to 745 700 tonnes in 2004, taking almost 9 percent of the world share and making the nation the fourth largest producer, behind Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.