Hatyai-Songkhla, Thailand -- Thai rubber exporters will hold a trade mission to Japan and South Korea between the 14-20 Oct, to evaluate future rubber demand, in the wake of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis.
The trade mission to the two countries is the first in nearly eight years according to Luckchai Kittipol, president of the Thai Rubber Association.
In the TRA's 3 Oct statement, Kittipol said that exporters would be able to learn about rubber demand and prepare for changing situation.
According to the statement, Thai exporters feared that the sub-prime crisis would weaken the world's economy and rubber demand. As a result, the TRA believes that the slowing US demand will make Thai exporters more eager to tap into new markets such eastern Europe, India, and South America.
During the mission, Thai exporters also hope to convince Japanese processed rubber manufacturers to invest in Thailand, after tyre firms such as Bridgestone, Yokohama and Sumitomo entered Thailand several years ago.
â€œThailand has to potential to attract firms in the rubber gloves and condom industries,â€ said Kittipol, in the statement. â€œOkamoto Industries, the leading Japanese rubber glove and condom maker has already established a presence in Thailand,â€ he added.
Thailand id expected to ship about 2.7 million tonnes of rubber at a worth of $6000 million (€4250 million) by the end of the year, most of which will go to China (30 percent), Japan (20-30 percent), the US (15-16 percent), South Korea (11-12 percent) and Malaysia.
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Press release from TRA