Sumitomo JV to export Myanmar wooden furniture

A Local joint venture subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry is seeking overseas buyers for its furniture made from Myanmar rubber trees.

The factory, based in Mon State’s Mawlamyine township, is run by local firm Moe Mya Chel Company in partnership with Sumitomo and Japan’s Oji Forest and Products. The three companies have invested 54 percent, 26pc and 20pc respectively.

Mos Lumber Products produces tables, chairs, cupboards, settings and wall cabinets. Open since last year, the factory has been selling parts of tables and chairs to Thailand, for re-export to retail outlets in the US and Europe, said Daw Thu Zar Chel, managing director of Moe Mya Chel.

“Since US sanctions have not been lifted 100pc yet, there are still difficulties in buying directly from Myanmar,” she said. “But thanks to the very welcome change in our government, we are starting to negotiate to sell our products directly.”

The company is studying labour regulations in Japan, Europe and the United States and preparing to meet compliance rules. “This will take around six to eight months,” she said.

The factory, which has an annual production capacity of around 8000 cubic metres, shapes rubber trees, a resource formerly thought to be useless once it lost its resin. Mon State contains more than 480,000 acres of the 1.4 million acres in the country devoted to growing rubber, and can now earn not only from resin but also from wood, said Daw Thu Zar Chel.

Old rubber trees without resin used to fetch only about K30, 000 a tonne for firewood. Moe Mya Chel pays K62, 000 a tonne, she said. “Before, when old rubber trees could no longer produce resin, they were cut down and burned. Now that the wood can be used in finished products, jobs can be created,” she said.

Raw rubber wood is bought from Mudon and Thanbyuzayat.

Source: The Myanmar Times

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