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Association Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) Assembly which was held in Kuala Lumpur recently agreed to submit concrete proposals to strengthen the price structure for natural rubber. The issue will be reviewed again at next annual ANRPC Assembly to be held in October this year.

The participants noted the weak performance of the natural rubber market and continuous low prices that had affected rubber farmers, particularly small scale rubber farmers. The Ministers agreed to establish an expert group and invite the private sector for a dialogue with ANRPC to explore the possibility of establishing a common trading platform for natural rubber linking the existing systems in the member countries.

Plantation Industries Minister Laksman Kiriella led the Sri Lankan delegation representing the country and attended by subject Ministers of Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Senior Officials from India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Philippines. The ANRPC meeting was chaired Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia by YB Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas. Sri lankan delegation included Secretary of the Ministry of Plantation Anura Jayawickrama, Director General of Rubber Department of Sri Lanka R.B. Premadasa and Coordinating Secretary of the Minister S.D. Kalansooriya.

Minister Kiriella who called on his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Amar Embas, Minister of Plantations Industries and Commodities on the sidelines of the meeting also had proposed an MOU to be signed between the two countries for cooperation in the plantation sector. Accordingly, the proposed MoU will be discussed lengthily by both the parties and will be signed at the next Joint Commission Meeting which is due in Colombo before the end of year. (DPL)