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สาส์นจากนายกสมาคม TRA PRESIDENT VIEW
 
   PRESIDENT VIEW
   Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Cooperation
The Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) sub-regional economic cooperation was an initiative formed in 1993 by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The goal of IMT-GT is to push the private sector of the member states to be leaders of trading and investment, leading to economic growth. Furthermore, it aims to support regional economic development by exploiting their economic advantages due to the similarity in geography, environment, religion, culture, tradition, and language. The member states’ governments agreed to promote the private sector role to build economic growth. The governments will provide the environment, infrastructure that facilitates economic development and drive IMT-GT to be a part of the economic development plan. The member states have scoped the cooperation in 6 aspects, including (1) Infrastructure Development or Land bridge (2) Trade and In-situ Development (3) Open Market Operations (4) Sectoral Development as in Tourism Development (5) Cross-Sectoral such as Human Resource Development, and (6) Development of the Hinterlands and Intra-Trade (Source: IMT-GT Studies Center Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand, Prince of Songkla University).

IMT-GT continuously conducts its meeting activities. The latest meeting was IMT-GT Rubber Cities and Rubber Industry Cooperation Workshop on July 13, 2021, with participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. In this regard, Mr. Supadetch Ongsakul, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Thai Rubber Association, was honored to be a speaker in the discussion about rubber cities' development and guidelines to improve IMT-GT cooperation. According to the last IMT-GT meeting, it can be inferred in the 2 significant issues as follow.

The first issue was exploring challenges and opportunities in IMT-GT rubber cities. It was noted that several challenges such as the rise of protectionism, trade war, COVID-19 pandemic, global pandemic, and global geopolitics dynamics might affect the rubber industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic can also bring the potential for the rubber industry to produce rubber gloves. Moreover, the Indonesia rubber industry has faced various challenges, such as limited material supply, ineffective communication amongst sub-regional cooperation, and relatively underdeveloped rubber industrial estate. On the other hand, rubber industrial estate (Rubber Cities) in Malaysia (Kedah Rubber City) and Thailand (Songkhla Rubber City) were relatively more developed, which offer several facilities to attract investors. The discussion also noted that cooperation amongst rubber stakeholders in IMT-GT countries can strengthen the supply chain and network as well as the relationship between the three rubber cities.

The second issue was enhancing the competitiveness of the sub-regional’s rubber industry to meet the requirement of the dynamic market. The traditional rubber products were mostly concentrated for the Automotive, Construction & Real Estate, and Manufacturing sectors. However, the current COVID-19 pandemics unleashed the potential market for rubber in the medical supply sector.  There were other emerging markets of rubber, such as rubber foods for defense (rocket component), household products (DME stove and tube rubber component), and rubber for asphalt. The rubber industry can also target the demand for rubber products for new technologies and move towards more sustainable products and productions. It can also become the opportunity for IMT-GT rubber producers to reposition the rubber industry in the global market by producing more eco-friendly products such as Green Rubber.

The meeting on IMT-GT Rubber Cities and Rubber Industry Cooperation Workshop had summarized the significant collaboration as follow; 1) Establishment of product testing, Research & Development, innovation, and technological activities for IMT-GT rubber cities; 2) Collaboration among IMT-GT for product accreditation and system management certification; 3) Collaboration among IMT-GT for training and talent development for rubber cities, and 4) Collaboration among IMT-GT for promotion of rubber cities products.

In conclusion, the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) sub-regional economic cooperation has great importance, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and trade war. IMT-GT should have the appropriate and clear proceeding plans to protect the benefits of rubber farmers and entrepreneurs. The Thai Rubber Association hopes that strong cooperation under the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) will provide holistic strategic benefits to Thailand.

Mr.Chaiyos Sincharoenkul
President
The Thai Rubber Association

Monthly of   October  2021     
     
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