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In 2015, rubber industry must face a lot of difficulties and challenges due to the impact of weak global economic recovery. Slow increase in the demand of natural rubber compared to the production has been causing to oversupply in worldwide and the later in its turn, generating pressure and pushing rubber prices to fall deeper constantly, creating bad effects on revenue, profits of enterprises and income of workers as well as increasing the strong competition between natural rubber exporting countries.

In this situation, the Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA) has actively proceeded various activities to implement effectively key tasks of VRA in protecting the legitimate rights of its members, cooperating closely with relevant ministries and branches to remove obstacles, problems in policies and create favorable conditions for enterprises to boost production, trading and export activities.

In terms of contributing feedbacks to Governmental policies to support trading and production activities of member enterprises, VRA has successfully proposed import tax reduction of 3 types of synthetic rubber that cannot be produced domestically from 5% to 0%; participated in the revision of national technical regulation on the effluent of natural rubber processing industry fitting to actual feasible conditions of enterprises; in particular, VRA has successfully proposed the reduction of corporate income tax that has brought great encouragement to members and enterprises that grow, process natural rubber in the current difficult situation. Accordingly, since 01/01/2015, exemption of corporate income tax for enterprises, cooperatives that have income from planting, livestock raising, agro-product processing in areas having excessively difficult socio-economic conditions; reduction of tax rate from 22% to 10% for enterprises having incomes from planting, agro-product processing in areas with difficult socio-economic conditions and 15% for enterprises in other areas.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is still causing big problems for natural rubber exporters. VRA continues to propose in the Draft on Law amendment, supplementing, some articles of the Law on Taxes to classify processed natural rubber into the group of preliminary-processed crops, according, a policy on not to declare and pay VAT in the trading operations will be applied; VAT on inputs is still deducted for producing, trading enterprises of this commodity, concurrently.
In addition, VRA has also contributed positively comments and proposals to drafts on policies, relevant long-term projects of ministries and branches in 2015, notably, Draft of Scheme on Overseas Market Development 2014 – 2020, Vision 2030; Draft of Amendment, Supplement of Harmonized System (HS) of Tariff Nomenclature of ASEAN Imported and Exported Commodities; Draft on a Plan to Build up a System of Standards for Rubber and Rubber Products;  Draft of Law on Export and Import Duties (Amendment); Review of the Preparation of the Business Community of Vietnam Rubber on the Threshold of AEC; Coordination in providing information to the Scheme on Improving the Competitiveness of Vietnam Exported Products, etc.
Year 2015 is the milestone of Vietnam intensive international integration in various areas, of preparation for the implementation of some free trade agreements (FTA) that Vietnam has finalized negotiations and signed officially, the Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by the end of this year. VRA therefore, has focused on strengthening trade promotion activities and enhancing international cooperation. Specifically, VRA continues to actively participate in exhibitions and encourage members’ participation to introduce capacity, major products of Vietnam rubber sector to potential customers in and out of country via specialized exhibitions in rubber and tyre production, namely “Rubber & Tyre Vietnam”, the 15th International Exhibition  of Machinery for Plastics and Rubber Industry, “VietnamPlas & VietnamRubber”, jointly organized the International Exhibition for Vietnam Rubber, “RubExpo Vietnam”. Furthermore, VRA also continued to organize delegations of members to attend Annual Dinner and business meetings in the Southeast Asian countries to expand export markets and to seek for new customers.
Currently, VRA has been involved in the most important international and regional rubber organizations. This participation creates favorable conditions for VRA to grasp timely market information, development policy in key countries of the global rubber industry. In 2015, VRA continued to maintain member relationship with ASEAN Rubber Business Council (ARBC), International Rubber Association (IRA), International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), especially in the voluntary and collaborative industry initiative for a sustainable development of natural rubber entitled ‘Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i) to disseminate information to concerned enterprises and organizations. In late 2015, VRA was proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to send representatives to attend the Conference and the 2015 Annual meetings of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), a basic step for VRA to participate officially in ANRPC. Moreover, VRA has collaborated with FLEGT Secretariat in Vietnam to organize a Seminar to give guidance to members on required procedures and documentation of legal rubber wood for exports to Europe.
To perform its duties in providing information to members and relevant Ministries, VRA besides strengthening its website updating on daily rubber prices of major markets, continues to quote, select, synthesize news from domestic and overseas reputable sources, to release Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Bulletin on information related to market situation and forecast supply and demand of rubber in the world, price movement and status of production, import and export of Vietnam rubber industry, specialized news and other related policies. In particular, the Vietnam Rubber Business Directory is released annually to expand the opportunity to promote products produced by members and enterprises of the industry as well as to introduce the status of rubber industry development and the VRA’s activities.
Regarding the mission on study and proposition to build up Vietnam Rubber Brand, as soon as Vietnam Rubber Certification Mark was protected domestically under the certificate issued by the Department of Intellectual Property since end of 2014, VRA is developing the international registration to protect this Certification mark as an intellectual property in overseas targeted markets. In 2015, VRA proceeds on collecting documents on management and licensing registered trade mark experienced by some organizations to propose a project on building up industry brand in combination with use of VRA’s registered Vietnam Rubber Certification Mark and the National Branding Program.
Year 2015 was also the year when VRA organizes a series of major events, namely the 4th Term of the General Assembly of the Vietnam Rubber Association (2015 – 2017), Global Rubber Conference in combination with VRA Annual Dinner.
For year 2016, it is forecast that Vietnam rubber industry will continue to face difficulties as price continues to be low due to too large rubber stock worldwide and the competition between rubber producing, exporting countries becomes stronger in the period of international economic integration. The major limitations of enterprises and members in natural rubber are namely, grade structure doesn’t match the market, the rate of domestic consumption is low, product quality is uneven and inconsistent, Vietnam Rubber Brand is not built-up. In addition, the manufacturing industry of rubber products although is fast-growing during recent years but still not meets the domestic demand, so, large volume of manufactured products must be imported.
In 2016, activities of the Vietnam Rubber Association, therefore, are mainly oriented to connect and encourage members to find effective solutions to enhance the domestic consumption and manufacturing of natural rubber, to shift the grade structure to match the market demand and to improve the quality of Vietnamese natural rubber according to national and international standards to build Vietnam Rubber Brand. Besides, VRA will continue to coordinate closely with the relevant ministries to propose a management system on quality management of natural rubber and rubber products, contributing to maintain the prestige of Vietnam Rubber Brand to increase competitiveness with other countries in the region and in the world; at the same time, to provide information and orientation to members in order to actively participate in projects on enhancing value added and developing manufacturing industry in-depth as planned by the Government for rubber industry .
On the other hand, VRA continues to fulfill its role as protecting the legitimate interests of its members, proposes timely solutions to remove difficulties, to create favorable environment for rubber enterprises to operate and trade. Activities in information dissemination and trade promotion will be promoted, enhanced furthermore as this is the urgent needs of members, the indispensible trend of the period of regional and international economic integration.
Under the leadership of the Executive Committee and the support of the Ministries, branches, regional authorities and domestic and overseas partners, in combination with the contributions of members and efficient operations of the VRA Office, the role of  the Vietnam Rubber Association is up lifted higher and higher. VRA will be really a place where wisdom and strength of many companies and organizations are gathered to elaborate appropriate orientation, to contribute to improving competitiveness and sustainable development of rubber industry. VRA will also continue to enhance support and protection for its members, be worthy to represent all members in Viet Nam and world rubber market.
The Office of the Vietnam Rubber Association (Hong Van & et al.)

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