Aiming to raise the value of rubber exports, Cambodia signed agreements with France on Tuesday to create a laboratory to certify the quality of rubber and form a rubber producers’ association.
“With this process we can bring in more revenue for the same amount of rubber,” Sok Siphana, secretary of state at the Ministry of Commerce, said Wednesday.
Cambodia cannot sell rubber directly to the international market because its quality is not certified by an international body. Most of the rubber is sold through Vietnam, which processes the rubber for export, said Francois Giovalucchi, director of France’s development agency. “The idea is to build a national association that can certify the rubber and then sell it directly on the commercial market,” Giovalucchi said Wednesday.
France’s development agency estimates that international certification could have added $8 million to the value of rubber exports last year. It expects the laboratory and national rubber association to be completed by the end of 2005.
Mong Reththy, chairman of the rubber-exporting Mong Reththy Group, said Cambodia’s rubber is of higher quality than neighboring countries. The main obstacle to rubber production, he said, is that rubber plantations lack capital.
“Sometimes the small rubber plantations rush to sell their rubber because they have no place to store it,” Mong Reththy said. “But the large rubber plantations could keep their rubber in storage until the price of rubber rises.”
Mong Reththy expects the country will export about 50,000 tons of rubber this year. In 2002, the country exported a similar amount, mostly to Vietnam, valued at $30 million.