The move was part of a strategy to secure supply of those materials for European manufacturers. The first list was produced in 2011, scheduled for review every three years.
According to Cinaralp, in 2013, the commission asked to look at natural rubber's case for a number of reasons.
"Two important elements are considered: the first was the economic importance. In the case of natural rubber, 94 percent of global output comes primarily from four Southeast Asia countries: Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia," she said.
"At the same time, consumption growth from 2010-20 is expected to be centered in Asia and in particular China, where demand is forecast to reach 6.4 million metric tons in 2020, compared to 3.6 million tons in 2010. Indian demand is projected at 1.9 million tons by 2020 thus becoming the second biggest consumer of NR in the world."
Natural rubber comes from the Hevea tree, which is a unique source for the global industry. This material is used mostly by the tire industry, which consumes more than 75 percent of natural rubber supplied to Europe.
Another important factor is the level of substitution and whether or not the material can be replaced.
"The answer to that is no," Cinaralp said. "Otherwise it would have been replaced by synthetic rubber already."
Asked whether the listing of NR on the European critical raw materials list would lead to increased EU funding for such initiatives, Cinaralp was positive.
"There are European plans for some projects which will be considered an absolute priority. So the answer is yes, it is possible," Cinaralp said.