Rubber Exports Rise 33 Percent

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Cambodia’s rubber exports to the international market saw an increase of 33 percent in the first nine months of 2017, while the average price for the commodity went up 53 percent, compared with the same period last year.

A local farmer taps a rubber tree to collect the latex on a plantation in Cambodia. KHMER TIMES

From January to September 2017, Cambodia harvested 115,843 tonnes of rubber, of which 114,991 were exported, earning some $192 million. Meanwhile, the average price of rubber reached $1,672 per tonne, an increase of $578, or 53 percent, compared with the same period last year, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The same report states 432,096 hectares in the Kingdom are used as rubber plantations, of which 163,130, or 37.77 percent, are already harvestable. Cambodia exports the commodity to China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. In 2016, Cambodia exported about 140,000 tonnes of rubber, earning nearly $180 million.

Pol Sopha, the director-general of the Ministry’s general directorate of rubber, said plantations had been harvesting a large amount of rubber and he added he was optimistic about the expansion of the industry.

Lim Heng, the vice-president of An Mady Group Co, called on the government earlier this year to consider reducing tax on rubber exports to boost domestic investment. “The rubber price is currently positive and stable because it is related to oil prices,” he said. “But we want the government to consider reducing tax for rubber exports when the global price goes down, to help local investment and  local companies compete with others in the market.”

While trying to expand into international markets, especially China, which is the world’s biggest rubber importer, the government is also working to establish domestic factories for rubber products to create jobs, added Sopha. China wants to import 300,000 tonnes of rubber from Cambodia by early next year, as the government works on boosting the country’s rubber output.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.

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