Thailand negotiates with China for more rubber exports

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BANGKOK, June 28 — Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is seeking to boost the country’s rubber exports to China, a key Thai market, in an attempt to help local rubber growers suffering from falling rubber prices.

Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Nattawut Saikuar on Thursday met with China’s Henan province Department of Commerce director Song Guoqing and discussed bilateral agricultural trade and investment.

Mr Nattawut said after the meeting that Henan is one of Thailand’s major export destinations.

The Chinese province imported rubber products from Thailand worth US$5 billion during the first five months of this year.

The minister admitted that overall rubber exports and prices were quite affected by the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis, but he believes that the country’s rubber products have potential for growth both in production and industrial sectors, adding that the government had measures to handle the current situation.

While coping with the impact of external factors, the government at the same time is helping and creating opportunities for Thai farmers and rubber growers by setting up projects to maintain rubber price stability as well as to tackle falling rubber prices.

The government will seek more export markets, in particular China, India and European Union member countries and it will negotiate with entrepreneurs in those countries to sell rubber products at reasonable prices, Mr Nattawut said.

Following today’s meeting, the deputy minister said the Henan commerce representative expressed interest in negotiating the purchase of more rubber products from Thailand.

Mr Nattawut said he was confident that Thailand, the world’s top rubber producer and exporter, would be able to achieve rubber trade agreements with several countries in the near future.