The first international rubber and tyre industry exhibition to be held in HCM City next April will provide a forum for domestic and foreign firms to compare notes and explore business opportunities.

Products to be displayed at Rubber and Tyre Vietnam 2013 will include the latest equipment and technologies used in the industry, various kinds of tubes and tyres, and products and services related to the rubber, rubber materials, rubber chemicals, and testing-equipment industries.

Conferences and seminars will be held to discuss the future development of the industry, Nguyen Ba Vinh, director of Minh Vi Exhibition and Advertisement Services Co Ltd (VEAS), one of the event organisers, said.

Speaking to the media in HCM City on Nov. 7, Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, head of the Vietnam Rubber Association office, said the country is the world's fifth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of natural rubber, with exports of 816,000 tonnes last year.

China is the biggest buyer, accounting for more than half of these exports, followed by Malaysia and Germany.

Vietnam mainly exports natural rubber after basic processing.

Domestic consumption, mainly for tyre production, accounts for around 18 percent of its output.

Production of motorbike and bicycle tyres meets local demand, but the country has to import a significant volume of truck and bus tyres besides other rubber-based products like rubber gloves, soles, and conveyor belts, according to Hoa.

A Government master plan to develop the industry through 2020 seeks to raise domestic consumption of natural rubber to at least 30 percent by 2020 to develop the rubber-based manufacturing industry.

Demand for rubber is expected to rise in the long term, Hoa said.

Co-organised by VEAS and the China National Chemical Information Centre, the event will be held from April 11 to 13, and is expected to attract more than 100 local and foreign exhibitors.-VNA