The imposition of the counter-veiling duty (CVD) on tyres from China has led Chinese tyre manufacturers to route their products through Thailand, which subsequently increased imports in the Indian market. According to Rajiv Budhraja, Director General of the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA), import of tyres from China is a major factor for the domestic manufacturers. Following the US-China trade war tensions, China has been more aggressive in other markets to maintain the economy.
Looking at statistics from last year, the import of truck/bus radial (TBR) tyres from Thailand stood at about 267,087 units, which accounts for 57% of the total imports, up from 126,666 units or 15% of the imports during 2017-2018. In contrast, motorcycle tyres from Thailand accounted for only 9% of tyre imports last year and 5% of tyre imports for the previous year.
However, Budhraja said the growth momentum has since slowed down and low sales of automobiles have affected the tyre companies. As it continues, the lower sales are expected to impact greenfield investments in the tyre industry, despite expectations of a high demand.
Budhraja thinks the government should prioritise the growth of the economy, as the uncertainty relating to the political situation has died down. The central government should not only address urban mobility, but also the last mile connectivity in case of goods transport, which was previously undertaken by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).