InfoQuest (May 26, 2020) -- The COVID-19 outbreak has caused demand for rubber gloves to soar several times, mainly because these products are essential protective gear for health-care workers. In addition, they are also essential products in the new normal period, because people's awareness of hygiene has increased and they choose to use rubber gloves to prevent bacteria, which leads to a multiple increase in the demand for rubber gloves in the market, according to Ms. Onmon Subthawitham, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN).
According to international trade statistics for the first four months of 2020, Thailand's export of rubber gloves to the world market registered 449 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 16 percent compared with the same period in 2019. Key export markets that saw growth included China which grew 129.5 percent to 31 million U.S. dollars, Australia which rose 79 percent to 10 million U.S. dollars, ASEAN which grew 77 percent to 18 million U.S. dollars, and the United States which grew 9 percent to 194 million U.S. dollars.
Ms. Onmon said Thailand boasts a complete production chain of rubber glove industry, including rubber production, self-production of latex, and standardized rubber glove production technology, which gives Thailand an advantage over its competitors in terms of cost, price and quality acceptance. Besides, Thailand has the capacity to produce products that can fully meet domestic and export demands. Therefore, during the period when the demand for rubber gloves is on the rise, it is an opportunity for Thailand to ramp up its production capacity to meet domestic and international market demands, and it can take advantage of the free trade agreement (FTAs) to enhance its export advantage. Currently, Thailand has 17 FTA partners, including ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru and Hong Kong (China). These countries and regions have stopped imposing import duties on rubber gloves from Thailand. Only India still imposes a 10 percent import tariff on rubber gloves.
In 2019, Thailand churned out more than 20 billion rubber gloves, accounting for 89 percent of the total sales of rubber gloves. The export volume reached 1.203 billion U.S. dollars, ranking third in the world after Malaysia and China. Compared with 1992, before Thailand and ASEAN signed their first free trade agreement, the exports surged by 992 percent, and the export to all its FTA partner markets increased, among which the Indian market had the highest growth rate of 16,872 percent, followed by China and Peru, with an increase of 16,505 percent and 6,000 percent respectively. Among downstream rubber products, rubber gloves are second only to automobile tires in creating export earnings for Thailand.
Source: InfoQuest, by Phana / Tanawat / Rachada, translated by Xinhua Silk Road.
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