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Cooperation at multilateral level among like-minded countries essential : Rubber Board Chairman
18 October 2016

Cooperation at multilateral level among like-minded countries can contribute substantially to the development of commodity sectors like natural rubber, said Mr. A. Ajith Kumar, Chairman, Rubber Board. He was inaugurating the 39th Assembly Session of Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) held at Guwahati, today. The Association has tremendously contributed to the development of natural rubber sectors in the member countries. Cooperation in developmental activities with smallholder focus has been accorded due importance by the Association, he observed.

As ANRPC is nearing half a century of its existence, the situation of NR sector in the respective member countries has significantly changed as compared to the time of its establishment, with new challenges and issues. The approach should be to devise strategies to transform the challenges into opportunities through appropriate policies. One of the basic necessities to formulate policies for rubber development is sharing of information among member countries so that time-tested practices, policies and systems could be emulated, calibrating them to the domestic conditions. In the present situation, cooperation among member countries should not be limited to upstream but shall be extended to mid-stream and downstream segments as well, said Mr. Ajith Kumar.

His Excellency San Vanty, Chairman of ANRPC, representing Royal Government of Cambodia, chaired the meeting and delivered the introductory statement. Mr. Toms Joseph, Joint Director, Rubber Board, representing Government of India, welcomed the gathering.

Datuk Dr. Salmiah Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer, International Rubber Consortium Ltd, presented its statement. She said that International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) and IRCo have established a regional rubber market named ITRC RRM, which started operating from 26 September 2016. The 3 member Governments (Thailand, Indonesia & Malaysia) have standardized and harmonised the necessary rubber parameters and specifications for rubber to be traded in RRM.

Datuk Dr. Abdul Aziz, Secretary-General, IRRDB observed that an outcome of the prolonged low rubber price is the development of policies to promote downstream activities in the producing countries. Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries have come out with strategies to develop their downstream sector. There is also renewed interest to utilize rubber in the road construction, he pointed out. Dr. Lekshmi Nair, Head of Economics and Statistics, IRSG Secretariat observed in her statement that in the light of the current negative market reality, it is intended that in 2017, a joint Asian workshop, with ANRPC, would be held which would help all to co-ordinate and synthesise a series of new global Natural Rubber supply and demand scenarios covering the coming decades. Observers statements from Brazil and Myanmar are presented by the Mr. Luciano C Della Nina and Mr. Zaw Tun Myint respectively.

Considering the importance of the private sector in rubber development, a Public Private Meet was also held today to get feedback from the sector. This is the second time such a Meet is held along with the Annual ANRPC Meeting. Dr. Lekshmi Nair, Mr. Virendra Rathod (Reliance Industries), Mr. Rajiv Budhraja (Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association), Mr. Diogo Marques de Azevedo Esperante (Heave Forte Natural Rubber Farmers Association), Mr. Zaw Tun Myint (Department of Agriculture), Mr. Vinod Simon (Chairman, Rubber Skill Development Council), Mr. Jom Jacob (Senior Economist, ANRPC) and Lakna Paranawithana (Sri Lanka) attended the Meet.

The Assembly is the supreme decision making body of ANRPC. The Open Session of the Assembly was attended by member government delegations, invitees of ANRPC, special invitees and Rubber Board officials.

The Closed Session of the Assembly is scheduled to be held on 21 October 2016. The business of the session is to consider the recommendations of the meetings of the committees and deliberate on various issues confronting the NR sector. This session will be appointing a new Secretary-General for ANRPC. The Closed Session of the Assembly will also elect a new Chairman for the Association.

ANRPC is an intergovernmental organization established in 1970 and has at present 11 member countries viz., Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. The member countries of the Association account for around 90 per cent of natural rubber production in the world. The Association has been an effective forum for facilitating exchange of information, consolidation of statistics, networking and coordinated initiatives on issues confronting the NR sector

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