KOCHI: The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) has welcomed Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement reducing the time window of exports to six months, regarding the Rubber Advance Licence import scheme, stating that it will stabilise the sagging domestic rubber prices. UPASI and other grower federations have been requesting for a long time the need for structural changes in the import policy and are appreciative of the Commerce Ministry’s decision, UPASI Vice President N Dharmaraj said in a statement. “Currently the window of exports is 18 months extendable by six months of two duration. This is illogical when it is an established fact that the quality of natural rubber deteriorates after six months. A long time window makes the monitoring mechanism cumbersome and is not in line with the spirit of the import for re-export cause,” UPASI said. It also requested the government to review outdated norms of SION (Standard Input Output Norm) and issues of inverted duty structure in rubber goods industry to enable the robust growth of the rubber goods manufacturing sector in the country.