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High Court vacates ban on rubber import

K.R. Srivats

NEW DELHI, Oct 1

THE Bombay High Court has `vacated' the Centre's decision prohibiting import of natural rubber through the advance licence route.

"The Court has today vacated the Centre's circular issued in February 1999 and the notification issued later this year. The written order is expected in the next few days. The removal of the ban will have a sobering effect on the domestic prices of natural rubber over the long term. Even though international prices are ruling high, it is expected that some of the tyre manufacturers having about 10,000 tonnes of unused advance licences will undertake some imports," the Director-General of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association (ATMA), Mr D Ravindran, told Business Line.

ATMA members have, during the last three years, been making a case for the removal of the ban on imports of natural rubber through the advance licence route. The demand was made even at the recent meeting of the Development Council for tyres and tubes, chaired.by the Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Reacting to the Court's decision, Mr Ravindran said the tyre makers were only keen to ensure that there were no "articifical barriers" and were prepared to toe the price line dictated by the markets. The advance licence route had been an important one for imports of natural rubber by the domestic tyre industry till it was banned in February 1999. Mr Narendra Udeshi, an exporter of rubber-based products, filed the petition against the Centre's ruling on import of natural rubber through the advance licence route.

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