1.     The Senior Officials from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia (TIM) under the framework of the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) met at its 33rd Meeting on 4th and 5th December 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting discussed the current global natural rubber (NR) market situation in particular on the unfavourable rubber prices affecting the sustainability and the wellbeing of rubber smallholders. 

2.     TIM are pleased with the compliance of the 6th Agreed Export Tonnage Scheme (AETS) in 2019. The success of the AETS strengthened the commitment of the Governments of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia working in concerted manner to improve the wellbeing of rubber smallholders.

3.     TIM are concerned with the projected reduction of NR production by 800,000 MT in 2019 due to unexpected factors in particular the outbreak of Pestalotiopsis disease (Fungal disease), erratic weather conditions and sluggish tapping activities due to prolonged low prices. 

4.     TIM are extremely concerned on the rapid spread and the damage brought about by the Pestalotiopsis disease which continue to devastate rubber plantation areas in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. To date, the disease has affected 380,000 ha in Indonesia, 52,000 ha in Thailand and 5,000 ha in Malaysia. The severity of Pestalotiopsis disease outbreak is estimated to scale down 70% – 90% of productivity in the affected areas of the worst cases and about 30% – 50% for moderate affected areas. 

5.     Amidst the spread of Pestalotiopsis disease, TIM expressed concern on the rubber prices which tend to be under pressure as it has been affecting the livelihood of NR smallholders and threaten to undermine the production in which TIM will work in concerted effort in facing these challenges. 

6.     TIM would anticipate any unfavourable market conditions in the future. Hence, TIM is exploring possible strategies to maintain the recent market positive momentum, including recommendation on the possibility of implementing another AETS to ensure price steadiness. 

7.     TIM also emphasised the importance of ensuring the sustainability of NR as key raw material for various applications and the source of income for farmers in producing countries. NR prices need to be attractive for farmers to continue cultivating rubber to ensure sustainable NR supply for consumers in meeting the demand of the end-users. 

5 December 2019