KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 (Bernama) — Export of rubber-based products is expected to rake in about RM18.5 billion this year, driven by higher usage of disposal medical gloves, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said.
He said the ministry would continue to encourage the production of more higher value-added items particularly downstream products such as disposal rubber gloves.
“We want to encourage higher value-added products, not just natural rubber,” he told reporters after visiting the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council’s (MREPC) office here today.
Mah said from January to June, export of rubber-based products rose 4.2 per cent to RM8.82 billion compared with the same period last year, with the the United States, European Union and Japan accounting for 60 per cent of Malaysia’s total rubber exports.
Last year, revenue from rubber-based products increased to RM18 billion with rubber gloves, being the main export item, accounting for RM13.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Mah said the ministry was in regular talks with the Ministry of Health to encourage health sector practitioners to change their medical gloves regularly to reduce the spread of infection.
“If they adopt this practice, of using 25 pairs a year, which is the world average, Malaysia can increase the export of disposal medical gloves to India and China and reap higher earnings,” he said.
Malaysia’s usage for disposal medical gloves stood at seven pairs a year, while the average in China was three pairs, India (two pairs) and the United States (75 pairs) a year.
Malaysia, known for its high-quality rubber products, is the world’s number one producer of rubber gloves and garnered 56 per cent of the global market share.
Meanwhile, MREPC Chief Executive Officer Low Yoke Kiew said its on-going promotional efforts have benefitted 80 companies which participated in over 150 trade missions, covering 36 countries this year.
“Out of that, 34 companies has been given grants through our incentive programme to purchase essential testing equipment,” she said.