Tyre makers allege that over 35,000 bus and truck tyres are being imported from China and Thailand every month at huge discounts compared to global and domestic prices, India’s Economic Times reported.
According to figures by the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), commercial vehicle tyres are being imported from these two sources at less than $50 (2,250 rupees) per unit against the global wholesale price of around $115 (5,175 rupees) per piece, causing injury to the domestic tyre industry. In the local market, a typical ‘Made in India’ bus and truck tyre costs 9,000-9,500 rupees (around $200), while an imported Chinese is available for 6,000 rupees ($135).
The ministry of commerce and industry published a notice on 30 December to initiate anti-dumping investigations into tyre imports from these two sources. Under the procedure, China and Thailand will now get three months to reply to anti-dumping accusations against their exporters and manufacturers. This has, however, created divisions between tyre makers and dealers. “Imports are the only check on an industry dominated by less than half-a-dozen companies,” one tyre dealer told local media sources.
Tyre makers say imports at “unrealistic” prices have depressed tyre prices in the domestic market and made it difficult for them to pass on the rise in input costs to the final users. “Globally, almost all tyre majors have introduced multiple price hikes since the rise in petroleum prices and reported record profits. We are finding it tough to maintain our operating margins,” says a senior official in Birla Tyres. The company is one of the complainants to the government.
In the past two years, all large tyre makers including MRF, Apollo, JK, Ceat and Birla Tyre have reported declining operating margins despite a double-digit growth in net sales volume. Tyre makers hope that a fear of anti-dumping duty will force importers to at least reduce the margin of under-invoicing, if not eliminate it altogether. “It has already begun to make an impact. The new imports are being contracted at around $74 a unit,” said one Birla Tyres official.