July 13 Cooperation is the way forward for the regional rubber industry to flourish further and maintain a lucrative price for natural rubber, considering various potential in cross-border activities within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).Regional development division director of the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister Department Dato’ Ahmad Zamri Khairuddin said the IMT-GT sub-region could be the centre for the global growth of rubber-based industries in the areas of healthcare and infrastructure, as well as, jointly promote regionally produced rubber automotive parts for original equipment manufacturer and replacement markets.
“Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia combined are the leading producers of natural rubber, contributing 66 per cent of global supply, which has resulted in major tyre producers setting up their manufacturing and operations in this region.“We also see the global industrial gloves market which is projected to reach US$14.8 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 per cent from 2020 to 2027”, he said in his opening remarks at the virtual Workshop on IMT-GT Rubber Cities and Rubber Industry Cooperation 2021 today.
Themed ‘Explore Challenges and Opportunities of the Regional Rubber Industry’, the workshop is organised by the Centre for IMT-GT Subregional Cooperation (CIMT) and co-hosted with the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).
Dato’ Ahmad Zamri said the establishment of the three special designated areas to support the regional rubber industry, namely Sei-Mangkei Rubber City in Indonesia, Kedah Rubber City (KRC) in Malaysia and Songkhla Rubber City in Thailand, would be able to support the increase in local rubber consumption and make major contributions to the livelihoods of the smallholders.The KRC, a national strategic project sprawled on about 501.81 hectares of land, is ready to receive private investors to set up factories, offices and warehouses; create employment opportunities; and improve the skills of local workforce to meet the demands of industry activities.
Meanwhile, NCIA head of investment planning Zainal Azman Abu Kasim said the authority is positioning the KRC as a new industrial growth node for rubber industry in IMT-GT and ASEAN.“We are hoping with this collaboration will leverage on each other’s strength and eventually position IMT-GT as the hub for rubber industry.”
“Among possible areas of collaboration between the three rubber cities are the establishment of product testing as well as research and development activities; product accreditation and system management certification; training and talent development; and promotion of rubber cities products”, he added.