PHL rubber producers pushed to raise raw material sales to Yokohama Tire

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it the rubber industry could end up generating P1 billion in revenue if it can supply 100% of Yokohama Tire Philippines, Inc.’s raw material requirements.

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual told reporters at a recent briefing that the Japanese parent company, Yokohama Rubber Co., is planning to expand its Philippine footprint with an additional investment in its Clark facility.

“When we talked to Yokohama Rubber, they said that they are planning to invest close to $60 million to increase their capacity for tire production. They already have a big capacity, and they plan to increase it further,” Mr. Pascual said.

“The sad part is that the raw materials are not fully provided by local suppliers. That is why we committed to helping Yokohama source the rubber in Mindanao so they can add local content to the tires being produced in the Philippines,” he added.

According to Mr. Pascual, Yokohama plans to expand tire production by 5%, equivalent to an additional 500,000 units, to its current annual capacity of 10 million.

“We will help them source the rubber in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” he said.

“Of course, at a governmental level, we will talk to our colleagues in BARMM about how Yokohama could be supplied raw rubber sap,” he added.

He said that the Philippines is missing out on rubber supply contracts. Yokohama currently imports the rest of its rubber requirement from countries like Malaysia.

“The ideal target is to increase the share of local producers to 100%; we need to improve the share of local producers,” he said.

“Yokohama sources only 51% of its raw material, in the form of natural rubber, from domestic sources, which are mainly in Mindanao,” he said.

“They are the only tire manufacturer left in the Philippines; that is why we need to take care of them by doing our part,” he added.

He said the DTI could also help in addressing concerns about the availability of trained manpower. 

“The value of sourcing is estimated at P1 billion, which will be additional revenue for the farmers in Mindanao. Right now, we only account for 12,000 metric tons, but our potential is 30,000 metric tons of raw rubber,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile