Crain News Service report
BANGKOK (Aug. 3, 2015) — The Thai government is urging Vietnam — considered the world's third largest producer of natural rubber (NR) — to join the Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC), a move the body said would help to stabilize rubber prices.
Vietnam's minister of agriculture and rural development Cac Duc Phat and his Thai counterpart Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya met July 23 in Bangkok to discuss sustainable NR, cooperation and collaboration between Vietnam and the ITRC, according to a posting on the website of IRCo, the ITRC's operational arm.
Vietnam agreed earlier this year to cooperate with Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia under the ITRC umbrella. Among the topics discussed was the establishment of a regional rubber market.
Thailand and Vietnam also had a joint trade committee session in mid-July where the Thai Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya reportedly lobbied Vietnam to join IRCO in a bid to stabilise rubber prices.
IRCo was registered in 2004 by Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia with authorized capital of $225 million.
The three countries produced 8.14 million metric tons of rubber, or slighly more than two-thirds of the 12.1 million tons globally, last year.
Vietnam's production of 953,700 tons was ranked the third-largest NR output.
Rising demand for NR has encouraged Vietnam to expand its rubber plantations to increase exports and help national development, IRCo said. Since 1990, its rubber smallholding sector has been developed rapidly throughout the country, increasing its share of the total rubber area.
The Vietnamese government has issued a master plan to reach 2 million acres of rubber plantations and produce 1.1 million to 1.2 million tons of natural rubber.