11/03/2014

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SRI LANKA: Dedicated industrial park for rubber mooted

He made these sentiments addressing the Global Rubber Conference 2014 under the theme "Sowing the seeds for a sustainable future”, held in Colombo on 28 Oct. 2014.

"Sri Lanka is planning to achieve USD 8,000 million worth of rubber export sales by 2045. In a bid to develop the local rubber industry, the Government has identified several projects, which include strategic promotion of Sri Lankan rubber products in the global market, setting up dedicated industrial parks and a rubber and technology consortium and many more. The government is vigorously pursuing trade facilitation efforts, including preferential trade agreements that encourage exports of rubber products to emerging markets,” Siriwardena said.

In 2010, Sri Lanka has exported US$173 million worth of raw rubber, whereas, this number has come down to USD 71 million in 2013. In 2010, Sri Lanka exported USD 556 million worth of finished rubber products and this has increased to US$887 million in 2013.

With a total export turnover of USD 11 billion in 2013, Sri Lanka has a market share of 0.2% in global rubber products market. Sri Lanka is the global leader in solid tyres and ranks fifth in the latex glove exports.

The industry employs a workforce of around 50,000 and labour productivity of the industry is around USD 8 per hour.

Contribution of micro, small and medium scale sector is marginal and it is less than 5 % and around 20 large firms dominate the rubber product industry. Rubber product industry consumed 115,894 metric tonnes of rubber including natural and synthetic rubber in 2013, while value added per metric tonnes of rubber is USD 9,353 which is considered low.

The government in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank has developed long-term master plan for the industry development with the support of industry stakeholders. It has identified 23 projects, of which 10 programs will address supply side constraints.

The rubber industry accounted for 8.6 % of exports of merchandise in 2013. Markets for rubber products are ever increasing as per capita consumption of rubber increases.

According to targets set by the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka, rubber and rubber product exports is expected to reach USD 3 billion in 2020. In addition the government's collective vision is to convert every kilogram of rubber produced locally to high value added products. Their vision is to develop industry infrastructure both hard and soft, whilst enhancing the value conversion ratio from USD 9,300 per metric tonne to USD 15,000 per metric tonne in 2020.

Source: "Daily News”, Colombo; 29 Oct 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)



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