Malaysia to open border for rubber
Malaysian authorities have ordered the reopening of the Padang Besar checkpoint in Songkhla next week to allow the import of concentrated latex for the country's production of rubber gloves.
Kajohnjak Nuanphromsakul, acting governor of the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT), said the Malaysian government has decided to reopen the checkpoint in Sadao district, effective April 6, in response to rising demand.
Malaysia is one of the world's leading producers of gloves and relies on latex supplies from Thailand. However, imports were suspended after Malaysia imposed its Movement Control Order across the country until April 14 as part of its efforts to combat Covid-19.
Mr Kajohnjak said the RAOT has contacted Malaysia's glove manufacturers and relevant authorities in Malaysia to inform them that exports will resume.
He said Malaysia has also asked Thai authorities to assign 19 people to supervise cargo containers and stressed they will have to comply with public health regulations.
According to Mr Kajohnjak, the authority is working with the rubber and logistics sectors to find ways to continue exporting rubber to Malaysia. The agency is also looking for new markets to help cushion the impacts of Covid-19 on rubber farmers and operators. Earlier, exports of concentrated latex to Malaysia stood at about 50,000 tonnes per month, accounting for 55% of the total.
Thai manufacturers are also increasing production due to high demand, which looks likely to surge further following the Covid-19 outbreak. In the US, people use 75 pairs of gloves per year while in China the average use is five pairs per person.
Earlier, Vorathep Wongsasuthikul, vice president of the Thai Rubber Association, said rubber sheets and standard rubber exports would most likely be affected by the outbreak which has forced tyre making in China to shut for at least two to three months.