VIETNAM: Rubber needs consistent quality
The uneven quality of rubber products from ‘Made in Vietnam’ factories is why local rubber products are cheaper than those from other countries, according to industry insiders.
Trần Minh, head of the Vietnam Rubber Group’s Industry Department, said when using local rubber products, foreign producers have to use more technologies and additives to stabilise the quality. “We need to build a national-level rubber latex process to stabilise quality. It’s essential to set up a management body to supervise latex quality before exporting. This has been conducted by many countries,” Minh told a conference in Hanoi on 5 October 2018. Tô Xuân Phúc, an expert from Forest Trends, said latex from small rubber plantations is often contaminated with impurities. As a result, even though Vietnam has set strict standards of product quality, only large companies have met the requirements of importers.
According to Forest Trends, a non-profit organisation promoting sustainable forest management and conservation, State-owned enterprises and private firms which have large rubber plantations have occupied 38 per cent of total crude latex volume of Vietnam annually. Meanwhile, small plantations, which are owned by households, supply the rest. Although rubber plantation area between these two sides is almost 50-50, many large rubber plantations have reached the end of the latex exploitation cycle (20-25 years), while small plantations are in the best harvesting period.
The rubber industry does not only help Vietnam earn billions of US dollars but also creates jobs for more than 500,000 labourers. The industry has played an important role in supplying materials for domestic production sectors, especially wood processing. In term of latex processing, non-State owned enterprises use nearly 60 per cent of total latex annually, producing industrial products such as tyres, gloves and materials for the footwear sector. Foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises have the advantage of advanced technology and large investments in factories. Therefore, they attracted more than 60 per cent of the labour force, while private firms employ 23 per cent and the remainder work for State-owned enterprises.
Source: Daily “The Vietnam News”, Hanoi; 6 Oct 2018
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)