Exports of rubber and rubber products to hit RM20b target

The target is achievable based on the buying support from the US, Europe, China and India

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Exports of rubber and rubber products are expected to hit RM20 billion, as targeted earlier this year by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Its Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said the target is achievable based on the buying support from the US, Europe, China and India.

He said exports of the commodity recorded a growth of RM19.1 billion between January and July 2017 from RM13.8 billion in the same period last year.

“As for 2017, we targeted an annual growth of between 15% and 20% only. However, as at July, it recorded 38.5% growth, which was beyond our expectations,” he said at the launch of Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) Industry Linkage Fund 2017 and MREPC Scholarship award presentation ceremony in Petaling Jaya, Selangor yesterday.

Supermax Corp Bhd group MD Datuk Stanley Thai, who was also at the press conference, said the growth was partly attributed to the decision of some importing countries to switch to natural rubber gloves (nitrile-based) from vinyl gloves.

“In the last three months, major importers in the US has stop selling vinyl glove — hence decreasing the vinyl glove demand,” he said.

Earlier, Mah announced a RM3 million initial amount that would be disbursed under the MREPC Industry Linkage Fund (ILF).

He said the ILF is an effort to create a complete eco-system to support the development of the rubber products industry in terms of market promotion, research and development (R&D), and human capital.

He added the ILF will also serve as a platform to harness the strength of experts from local universities who could offer their expertise to industry players.

“We hope this initiative will encourage more R&D in the rubber industry, particularly in the midstream and the down-stream activities,” he said.

The fund will be used mainly for research projects involving latex and dry rubber products including automotive components and industrial goods.

It will also be utilised for R&D of rubber products used in the applications in infrastructure, construction and automation sectors.