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Malaysia urges creation of 'rubber city' in deep South

Oct 03. 2013
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By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THE N

MALAYSIA is encouraging Thailand to establish a "rubber city" to develop the key sector in both countries and ensure sustainable prices for farmers.

Under the proposed project, a city would be created in the border area linking Dan Prakob in Songkhla’s Na Thawee district and Kota Putra in the Malaysian state of Kedah.

Malaysia wants Thailand to supply raw materials to support its industries producing items such as rubber gloves and tyres.

After a recent meeting with Malaysia’s international trade and industry minister, Mustapa Mohamed, Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan said the two countries had agreed to cooperate in the development of the rubber industry, as well as in halal food production.

Thailand is currently a major source of rubber for Malaysia, while the Kingdom wants to learn about the latest technology for rubber production from its southern neighbour.

Niwatthumrong, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the rubber-city project should be mutually beneficial, as Thailand has the greater supply of rubber, while Malaysia has several industries making products from it.

The project should also enhance the price of rubber and create sustainable incomes for farmers amid falling prices in the domestic market, he added.

Meanwhile, Thailand has asked for the Malaysian government’s help in solving a logistics problem concerning the shipment of certain types of goods via Malaysia to Singapore.

Malaysia currently limits the volume of perishable products passing through the country to Singapore to just 300,000 tonnes a year, a restriction the minister has asked his opposite number in Kuala Lumpur to consider easing.

Thailand and Malaysia also agreed at the recent meeting that construction of the Sungai Kolok-Rantau Panjang Bridge linking the two countries should help promote bilateral trade and tourism growth.

Thailand has also encouraged Malaysia to import more Thai sugar and rice, the minister added.

As a follow-up to the discussion on these and other subjects, Thailand and Malaysia will hold a second Joint Trade Commission meeting late this year, or early next. The meeting will take place in Chiang Mai.

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