ERJ staff report (R&PN)
Washington DC -- The US Department of State is to cease funding for US participation in the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), effective June 30, despite widespread protests from the US rubber industry. The US paid US$105 000 in fees and subscriptions to the IRSG in 2010, which was forecast to rise to $112 000 in 2011. The budget for 2012 is zero.
The agency cites the Rubber Manufacturers Association's unhappiness with the accuracy of IRSG figures as a reason for ending US participation. However, the RMA said it long ago changed its mind and now enthusiastically supports US involvement.
According to the State Department, the US formally submitted its intention to withdraw to the IRSG Secretariat Oct. 29.
â€œAs producers and consumers of rubber have changed over the years, the relevance of data produced by this organisation and the utility of US government participation for US industry has been put into question,â€ the agency said in a March 22 letter to the Rubber Trade Association of North America. â€œChina, the world's largest consumer of rubber, is not a member.â€
Also, no important decisions on NR production are made during IRSG meetings, the State Department said. In the unlikely event that NR supplies to the US are threatened, the agency is prepared to aggressively assure US access, it said.
The State Department letter was in response to a March 4 RTANA letter urging the agency to reconsider.
â€œEver since the Japanese World War II invasion of Southeast Asia, and continuing through the Korean Conflict (which remains a global problem to this day), natural rubber has, and should be, on the national 'radar screen' of the United States,â€ the Rubber Trade Association of North America said in a March 4 letter to the State Department. â€œWe need an unbiased supply-and-demand assessment of this strategic commodity.â€
From Rubber & Plastics News (A Crain publication)
Report on US funding of international organisations from US State Department (scroll down to page 115, or search on IRSG)