The 10th edition of India Rubber Expo 2019, Asia’s largest rubber expo, which concluded in Mumbai on January 19, 2019, attracted a record number of over 300 exhibitors spread over an area of 26,000 sq. mts and over 30,000 visitors from India and abroad.
Inaugurating the three-day IRE 2019 orgaised by the All India Rubber Industries Association (AIRIA) at a colourful function held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu announced that the National Rubber Policy will be unveiled soon to address various issues concerning the sector.
Consultations with the stakeholders are in final stage and the new policy will be announced before the general elections. The Minister assured that the policy will strive to balance the interests of both the growers and the industry.

A multi-pronged strategy is being formulated to boost India’s exports and to ensure that India’s products get market access in more than 150 countries. In the last 13-14 months, the country’s exports achieved almost 10% growth despite the slowdown in the global economy, he said.
The government is working on a comprehensive technology strategy to increase India’s economy and improve ease of doing business at the micro level. For this purpose, six districts in five states have been selected on an experimental basis where the GDP will be raised by 3% to 4% through focused economic activities.
The government is also working towards entering into Free Trade Agreements with new countries like Africa and Latin America, where the first priority is the benefit of Indian industry, he added.
Stating that India will become a $5-trillion economy in the next few years, Prabhu said the share of the manufacturing sector is expected to be 20 % of this and the rubber industry can make a significant contribution. He hoped that the rubber industry will continue to grow faster, create more employment opportunities, increase exports and add to the economic output of India.

K M Philip Award presentation

The coveted K M Philip Award was presented on the occasion to Arvind Poddar, Chairman and Managing Director of Balakrishna Industries Ltd (BKT), by Tinku Roy, Chairman, Tripura Industrial Development Corporation.
While accepting the award, Arvind Poddar traced the history of BKT and explained how it grew over the years into an over 850-million dollar company and a leading global player in the Off-Highway tyre segment.
Earlier in his welcome address, Vishnu Bhimrajka, Chief Convenor of IRE 2019, said ever since its debut in 2001, the India Rubber Expo has grown to be one of the most anticipated events in the rubber industry today. The Expo has grown from a mere 3000 sq. mts. in 2001 to a whopping 26,000 sq. mts. in 2019.
Vikram Makar, President of AIRIA and Chairman, IRE 2019 announced that IRE 2021 will be held in Delhi. Vipul Shah, Chief Operating Officer, Petrochemicals, Reliance Industries Ltd, offered felicitations.

International rubber conference

An international rubber conference was conducted concurrently with the Expo which was attended by over 300 Indian and foreign delegates. The distinguished speakers included Salvatore Pinizzotto, Secretary General, International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), Jom Jacob, Senior Economist, Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), Colin Clarke, Director Technical Sales, Schill + Seilacher “Struktol” GmbH, Brady Hultman, Application Engineer, LORD Corporation, Dr. Hitesh Fruitwala / Subheesh PV, Executive Manager / Manager Application Technology, ExxonMobil Company India Pvt.Ltd., Dr. Andreas Kaiser, Technical Manager, ARLANXEO, Rajkumar.K. Makwana, Chief Material Manager, Western Railways, Swapnil Walimbe, Deputy General Manager, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Anand Raghavan Lead Portfolio Management, EV & eMobility Solutions Unit, Ashok Leyland etc.
One of the highlights of the show was the exclusive country pavilion from China where leading Chinese companies showcased their latest technology and products. Domestic and international Reverse Buyer-Seller Meets were organised as part of the show which provided an opportunity for direct interaction with high-profile decision makers in the industry.

A view of the distinguished audience