ATMA alarms the govt about rising import of waste tyres into India

Source : PTI | New Delhi: The Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA) has raised concerns over the significant rise in the import of waste/scrap tyres into India. The organization highlighted the issue in its pre-budget submission to the finance ministry, emphasizing the environmental and safety risks associated with these imports. Since FY20-21, the import of waste/scrap tyres has increased more than fivefold, turning India into a dumping ground for scrap tyres.

ATMA pointed out that the unchecked importation of waste/scrap tyres conflicts with the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) Regulation on Waste Tyres, which has been in place since July 2022. The association stressed the need for policy measures to curb the import of waste tyres.

“The import of waste/scrap tyres into India needs to be restricted through policy measures and, if necessary, allowed only in multiple cut or shredded form,” stated ATMA Chairman Arnab Banerjee.

India, which has become one of the leading tyre manufacturers globally, produces over 200 million tyres annually. As such, there is ample domestic End of Life Tyre (ELT) capacity to meet the country’s needs. Despite this, the import of nearly 14 lakh metric tonnes of waste tyres in FY24 alone raises significant safety and environmental concerns. These imported tyres often end up in the replacement market, compromising travel safety, or are burnt, leading to environmental degradation.

Additionally, ATMA has requested duty-free imports of natural rubber (NR) to cover the domestic demand-supply gap. According to the association, approximately 40% of the tyre industry’s NR requirement relies on imports due to limited domestic production. The high import duty on natural rubber affects the industry’s competitiveness.

“Nearly 40% of the tyre industry’s NR requirement is met by imports on account of non-availability of domestically-manufactured NR. The highest rate of duty on import of NR in India impacts the competitiveness of the industry,” ATMA noted.

Furthermore, ATMA raised concerns about the inverted duty structure regarding tyres and natural rubber. Under current Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), tyres are imported at lower preferential duties, whereas the basic customs duty on natural rubber remains high at 25% or Rs 30/kg, whichever is lower.

“While basic customs duty on tyres is 10-15%, under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), tyres are imported into the country at even lower duties (preferential duties) while the basic customs duty on its principal raw material, i.e., natural rubber, is much higher (at 25% or Rs 30/kg, whichever is lower),” the association claimed.

The ATMA stressed the need to address these issues to ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of the domestic tyre industry.