Establishing a network of rubber producing countries in Southeast Asia was a central focus in talks between Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya in Hanoi on March 12.

The network would shape a common market and fix price ranges in the region so as to limit vulnerability to rubber price fluctuations currently being experienced, said the Thai minister.

Thailand said that once Vietnam joins the network, its total rubber output will account for 70 percent of global production.

In recent years, prices have been in a downward spiral, dipping below production costs and resulting in losses to farmers and rubber producing countries in general.

Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have already approved the proposed network, inviting Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar to join them.

A common trading platform is likely to be based in the central city of Da Nang, said a Thai official.

Minister Phat said Vietnam will work closely with Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, initially by sending officials to determine appropriate solutions.

During the talks, both ministers also shared experiences in developing public-private partnership in agriculture.-VNA