As discussed during the National Export Strategy Workshop held from 7 to 9 October at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), Myanmar’s rubber exports could double in three years as necessary steps are being initiated to improve quality, enhance diversification and produce value-added products. According to U Khaing Myint, Secretary General of the Myanmar Rubber Planters’ and Producers’ Associ-ation, the sector has been growing rapidly since 2005; however, more strategies need to be developed to achieve efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to exports. Myanmar still has a long way to go to catch up with neigh-boring Thailand, which is the world’s top rubber producer. Last year Thailand exported 3.7 million tons of rubber, while Myanmar’s exports only reached 160,000 tons. The majority of Myanmar’s rubber exports go to China, Ma-laysia, Korea and Singapore, leaving only 8 percent for local consumption. According to U Khaing Myint, Myanmar has only exported 20 tons of rubber to Europe despite the lifting of sanctions. Due to quality defects, Myanmar’s rubber exports fetch poor prices—Myanmar rubber gets less than US $2,200 per ton while the global market price stands at US $2,500. Paul Baker, Chief Executive of International Economics, expressed his view of Myanmar’s rub-ber market saying that it heavily relies on the Chinese and Malaysian markets. He pointed out a need for diversifi-cation giving the example of Thailand which is much more diversified in terms of products and market.
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