Industry conference hears of raw exports being outpaced by imported finished products.
Vietnam’s rubber enterprises should focus on technological innovation and management to improve product quality and be competitive in the global market, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said at the 5th Global Rubber Conference, themed “Harnessing Industry Cooperation for A Sustainable Future”, on December 4 in Ho Chi Minh City.
He also suggested that businesses focus on branding, product and trade promotions to expand rubber export markets.
According to Mr. Tran Ngoc Thuan, Chairman of the Vietnam Rubber Association and General Director of the Vietnam Rubber Group Industry, in 2014 exports of natural rubber exceeded 1 million tons, accounting for 11.2 per cent of global rubber exports and were worth $1.78 billion. For 2015 exports have been estimated at $1.6 billion, down 10 per cent.
Vietnam’s rubber is now available in 86 markets, the largest of which are China, Malaysia, India, South Korea, Germany, the US, and Taiwan. In order to ensure high quality the country has adopted national standards and has 28 laboratories to test quality and ensure its compliance with international standards and those of advanced countries.
In 2014 Vietnam exported over 85 per cent of its rubber while importing rubber products and artificial rubber of greater value. The country therefore needs to adjust its product structure towards increasing the processing industry and reducing the export of raw materials. The industry also needs to work on implementing measures to cut costs, diversify revenue sources from rubber plantations, and push the use of domestic rubber products to minimize currency exchange risks and improve added value in the sector.
Mr. Thuan also suggested that domestic enterprises try to understand more about the benefits FTAs will bring, research market demand, access high-value market segments, and reduce their dependence on raw material exports.