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4 Jun 2014


Thai Rubber Industry: Downstream Focus Needed to Stay Globally Competitive (Current Issue No. 2507 Full Ed.)

Amid global economic volatility, especially for some key trade partners, e.g., China – our main rubber export market – where they are experiencing a slowing economy, that situation is crimping their demand for rubber. This along with the moderate increases in global crude oil price has pressured Thai rubber export prices, resulting in a decline in its export value.
Also, competition from traditional rivals – Indonesia and Malaysia – as well as new comers, e.g., Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and especially Vietnam, plus a policy shift in China toward greater dependency on their own domestic production and expansion in agricultural production elsewhere are factors undermining the competitiveness of Thai rubber exports now.
To cope with these threats, Thailand needs to maintain a favorable latex yield per unit of land area – the most important competitive edge – by promoting the cultivation of quality rubber saplings and utilization of sophisticated rubber tapping techniques to obtain higher latex output, as well as the efficiency of our production management and creation of added value within our rubber products via the application of new technologies and other innovations.

Moreover, the Thai rubber industry needs to move further toward with midstream and downstream industries, given our limited cultivation areas. At the same time, we must look for opportunities to cultivate rubber trees in neighboring countries to strengthen our upstream industry. These are some of the more viable options available for Thai rubber entrepreneurs and those engaged in other agricultural businesses, as well.

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