Rat­tan pro­duc­ers in ri­valry for EU mar­ket

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

Rat­tan pro­duc­ers are ea­ger to break into Euro­pean mar­kets, but they face in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion and a pro­hib­i­tively high cost of en­try into EU ex­hi­bi­tions.

RAT­TAN pro­duc­ers are keen to ex­pand into Euro­pean mar­kets in or­der to meet bur­geon­ing de­mand. But EU-level ex­hi­bi­tions re­main out of reach for many – largely due to the pro­hib­i­tive costs.

Myan­mar Rat­tan Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion vice pres­i­dent U Tin Oo says the in­dus­try re­mains out of step with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. Many pro­duc­ers lack the rel­e­vant knowl­edge to branch out into Euro­pean trade shows, par­tic­u­larly when tax­a­tion and reg­u­la­tory is­sues are con­cerned.

These two fac­tors, he says, are hold­ing the in­dus­try back.

“I have 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence. We are just SME busi­nesses. We can’t af­ford the cost of show­ing prod­ucts at big ex­hi­bi­tions in Europe,” he said in re­marks made at a press con­fer­ence on Novem­ber 8 held by lead­ing trade fair or­gan­iser Messe Frank­furt.

Daw Thet Su Hlaing, a Messe Frank­furt Myan­mar rep­re­sen­ta­tive, said pro­duc­ers need to be will­ing to take a gam­ble in or­der to reap the ben­e­fits.

“You can gain profit only when you in­vest some­thing. Some busi­nesses need to take risks,” she said. “I think it is worth tak­ing a risk if the risk can be cal­cu­lated.” There is only one Myan­mar ex­hibitor locked-in to at­tend the 2017 Am­bi­ente con­sumer trade fair, she added.

When it comes to the global rat­tan mar­ket, Myan­mar must com­pete with In­done­sia, Viet­nam and the Philip­pines – all of which have govern­ment sup­port and pro­duc­tion ad­van­tages, said U Kyaw Min Tun, di­rec­tor of Shwe Pin Lel Rat­tan Fur­ni­ture.

He says Myan­mar has yet to prop­erly cap­i­talise on its com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.

“We have [a mas­sive amount of] raw ma­te­rial. This is green fur­ni­ture and we want [to ex­pand to meet] de­mand from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets,” he said, not­ing that in­ter­na­tional sales could also save a dwin­dling art form. “The rat­tan busi­ness does not hold much in­ter­est for lo­cal busi­ness­men. Only a few are do­ing it be­cause they want to re­tain their an­ces­tors’ jobs,” he said, not­ing that lo­cal de­mand is on the wane.

U Kyaw Min Tun has been ex­port­ing rat­tan fur­ni­ture to Hong Kong and China for some years now. Cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tion has pre­sented a ma­jor chal­lenge, he said.

“Some of the fac­to­ries have had to shut down,” he said.

The Myan­mar mar­ket is an emerg­ing one, says ‘Am­bi­ente’ and ‘Ten­dence’ spokesper­son Erd­mann Kil­lian. How­ever, he said, there’s room for growth.

“I can imag­ine the re­luc­tance. Be­cause it is such a big show, you have to make in­vest­ments to make it hap­pen – but on the other hand there are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties if you go there,” he said.

Mr Kil­lian said en­trepreneurs in Myan­mar have to think about where to in­vest money and where to do busi­ness.

“Rat­tan, bam­boo and jew­ellery: There is al­ways a mar­ket out there. When you come to Am­bi­ente it’s not about do­ing busi­ness with Ger­man traders, but a chance to meet with buy­ers from any coun­try in the world,” he said.

Di­rec­tor of Bella In­te­rior Stella­beth Swezin Le, the first-ever Myan­mar ex­hibitor in Messe Frank­furt’s 2015 trade fair, said it was higher risk than ex­hi­bi­tions in Sin­ga­pore, Ja­pan, China and Korea – and dou­ble the cost. But, she says, it was worth it in terms of busi­ness gained.

“EU buy­ers will find it dif­fi­cult to come di­rectly to your fac­tory to buy Myan­mar rat­tan prod­ucts, as Myan­mar has been closed to in­ter­na­tional mar­ket in pre­vi­ous years,” she said. “We know that the lo­cal de­mand is not high, and profit mar­gins are very low. So we have to find a way to pen­e­trate the EU mar­ket.”

‘We can’t af­ford the cost of show­ing prod­ucts at big ex­hi­bi­tions.’ U Tin Oo Rat­tan man­u­fac­turer

Photo: Staff

An ar­ti­san makes tra­di­tional rat­tan fur­ni­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.