The history of Sri Lankaís rubber industry began way back in 1876 with the planting of rubber trees took place in Henerathgoda. While the latex coming out from the rubber tree is used in the manufacture of various rubber products, even the timber is used, in treated form for producing furniture and other timber based products. The rubber industry generates employment to a vast number of people mainly from rural areas, where the estates are. Starting from the tapping of latex to, manufacture semi finished or semi processed rubber and products (primary products) and moving forward to the manufacturing of value added products combined with those involved in trading the rubber industry provides employment to more than 200,000 persons. About 60% of the total rubber production was used by the local industry in 2002 (for local consumption as well as for export products). Presently, Sri Lanka produces about 136,880 metric tons of rubber annually.
This trend continues with Sri Lanka exporting about 20% - 30% of the rubber production in raw form while 70% - 80% is used by the domestic industries. Value of Sri Lankaís rubber industry exports has been growing steadily from approx. US$ 135 mn in 1995 to more than US$ 284 Mn in 2004 and increasing to US$ 483 in 2009. Out of this value, rubber products export value consists of around 80%. The noticeable drop in the growth rate of rubber and rubber products is mainly due to the global recession, which prevailed in the year 2009. Sri Lanka can boast of international accepted products such as solideal branded industrial tyres manufactured here by Loadstar Ltd. Dipped products are sold all over the world, their household and industrial gloves being marketed under many brand names. Loadstar enjoys more than 20% of the internationally market There are multinational companies too in operation in Sri Lanka namely Ansell Lanka Ltd., which manufactures latex based products and Trelleborg Lanka Ltd produces solid tyres to the global market.