12 Oct 2023
JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATURAL RUBBER PRODUCING COUNTRIES (ANRPC)
OF THE ASSOCIATION OF NATURAL RUBBER PRODUCING COUNTRIES (ANRPC)
54th Meeting of Executive Committee
Guwahati, India, 12 October 2023
1. We, ANRPC’s Member Countries (AMC), representing 84% of world production and 70% of consumption(1) of Natural Rubber (NR) in the world, have met today on 12 October 2023 in Guwahati, India, for the 54th Meeting of the Executive Committee.
2. ANRPC in principle supports any activity that promotes sustainability and protects our natural resources in a fair, clear, and sustainable manner, without creating unnecessary trade barriers and harm to the local community.
3. We highlight the role of Natural Rubber (NR) as an essential raw material that is used in the creation of many products and contributes to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of all stakeholders, including farmers/smallholders, communities, and the planet.
4. NR production for smallholders holds the potential to propel us closer to the achievement of the targets set by the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the call for no poverty (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), gender equality (SDG5), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), climate action (SDG 13) and life on land (SDG15).
5. Rubber plantations, as assessed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), constitute a distinct form of forest that seamlessly integrates commercial and ecological aspects(2). These plantations contribute to biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods. Their integration into landscapes promotes responsible land use and supports rural economies, aligning with our collective vision of sustainable development.
6. At the same time, the AMC have an ongoing sustainability program and is in the process of creating a comprehensive guideline relating to Sustainable Natural Rubber (SNR). In tandem with this endeavour, ANRPC is fostering collaborative partnerships with relevant parties to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and dissemination of best practices to promote SNR.
7. Most rubber smallholders have been suffering from low NR prices for more than a decade which in most of the time NR were traded below cost of production(3), plant pests and diseases, climate change and more, and will now face a new potential challenge from the implementation of the EU Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR), as they will be required to comply with some administrative procedures, such as Due Diligence and risk assessment mechanisms. ANRPC will continue to enhance collaboration within the AMC together with the relevant international parties in ensuring both production cost and sustainability factors are integral to the rubber trade.
8. We are deeply concerned by the enactment of the EUDR that has the possibility to create unnecessary barriers to trade which may lead to catastrophic outcome to the NR global supply chain disruption(4), especially to the smallholders.
9. We reiterate that trade policies should align with the rules and regulations set out in the multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. Trade policies should also promote an inclusive, equitable, transparent, non-discriminatory, and mutually supportive approach to environmental policies, extending their scope beyond the interactions between factories and operators. They should aim to deliver advantages to farmers, who are fundamental stakeholders within the trade ecosystem.
10. We urge the EU to look further into the role of the NR sector, its invaluable role in sustainable development, and responsible regulation. By acknowledging rubber as a forest tree, the EU can facilitate creating regulations that ensure the continued availability of NR while upholding the balance factors of SDGs’ economic, social, and environmental pillars, to fulfil the whole concept of sustainability.
11. We request the EU to establish practical approaches and measures to ensure the smallholders’ inclusivity in the supply chain in line with the spirit of “leaving no one behind” of the United Nations SDGs and minimize the risk of smallholders’ exclusion in the EU market.
12. We are making a collective effort to call upon EU authorities to acknowledge and take into account the concerns of AMC, and look forward to having a substantial, genuine, and constructive dialogue on the issues of the EUDR.
13. The AMC will continue the close cooperation between members and reaffirm its commitment to the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
(1) Source: ANRPC (2023). ANRPC is an intergovernmental organization for governments of natural rubber-producing countries as members. Presently, it consists of 13 countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, which collectively represented around 84% of global natural rubber production in 2022. The vision of ANRPC is to ensure an economically viable, socially and ecologically sustainable natural rubber industry. Its mission is : “To continuously improve productivity of rubber holdings, reduce cost, increase value addition in downstream rubber sector, explore sources of ancillary income, capitalize on eco-friendly credentials of natural rubber and thereby improve the well-being of rubber farmers.”
(2) FAO Global Forest Assessment 2023
(3) ANRPC’s Task Force on Alternative Mechanism to solve rubber prices in a short-term period
(4) According to the statement from International Trade Center (ITC) (2023)