InfoQuest (August 27, 2019) -- At the "Economic strategy of new Thai government" meeting hosted by the Economic Reporters Association, Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, deputy prime minister and commerce minister of Thailand, noted that Thai economy is facing a series of problems, such as US-China trade war, baht appreciation, and a fierce competition environment, posing more challenges to the government.
The newly established economy cabinet has approved an economic stimulus package worth 316 billion baht, aiming to boost the liquidity of economic system and realize an economic growth rate 3 percent or above in this year. The stimulus package includes measures in seven aspects: 1. Accelerating government expenditure. 2. Helping low-income people. 3. Enhancing the prices of agricultural products. 4. Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. 5. Boosting export. 6. Promoting tourism growth. 7. Boosting private investment.
The task of the Ministry of Commerce is to enhance the prices of agricultural products and boost export. In terms of agricultural products, the main policy is the price guarantee policy for rice, cassava, rubber, palm, and maize.
When it comes to enhancing the prices of agricultural products, Thailand is planning to exercise a guarantee price of 4 baht/kilo for palm with oil content 18 percent, capping at 25 rai, and entailing total subsidy of 10 billion baht. The proposal will be submitted to cabinet meeting today (August 27). It is expected that the first installment of subsidy will be granted in early October. Measures for wider use of palm oil were also formulated, including: mandatory use of B10 bio-diesel before late this year, and the establishment of a special working group to monitor smuggled palm oil from neighboring countries.
A subsidy plan for rice worth 12 billion baht will also be submitted to cabinet meeting for deliberation today (August 27).
In terms of supporting rubber farmers, Class-III ribbed smoked sheet will be sold at a guarantee price of 60 baht/kilo, capping at 25 rai. The proposal will later will be submitted to cabinet meeting.
In terms of cassava, the country is facing a large scale outbreak of mosaic disease in nine provinces. Measures must be taken to prevent the spillover of the disease to other parts of the country. There is still large demand for cassava in foreign markets, including China, India, and emerging markets such as Turkey and New Zealand.
When it comes to export, the commerce minister said that after a 4.28 percent export increase in July, a clear goal has been defined to ensure positive export growth, namely private sector should play a leading role in boosting export, while the Ministry of Commerce shall offer support and help resolving relevant problems, in an attempt to boost export growth with the power of private sector.
A joint committee for public and private sector shall be established to monitor the prices of farm products.
As for export, the country plans to take measures to restore its original markets, such as Iraq, with which Thailand had maintained a sound trade relation previously. The trade relation was damaged when some Thai companies exported substandard rice to Iraq, and is still reeling from its consequences. The Ministry of Commerce plans to take measures to restore the trade relation and find suitable opportunity to lead a delegation of private sector to Iraq, seeking to relaunch bilateral rice trade.
According to an MOU signed between China and Thailand, China should purchase 2 million tons of rice from Thailand. Currently, the purchase of remaining 1.3 million tons is still yet materialized. Thailand will negotiate with China and ask it to purchase more Thai Hom Mali Rice or ordinary fragrant rice in replace of common rice.
The Ministry of Commerce will take measures to promote border export. From August 31 to September 1, the Ministry of Commerce will lead a delegation to Thailand-Malaysia border to attend a meeting, seeking to promote the export of products from border regions. It will hold similar meetings with other neighboring countries, added Mr. Jurin.
It will also take other active actions, such as enhancing the professional competence of Thailand's commercial counsellors stationed worldwide to make them better equipped to fulfill duties, such as learning about Thai products to help with expanding market.
In terms of market expansion, the Ministry of Commerce will push for agreement signing between the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (with 16 member states) and ASEAN+6. At the relevant meeting held in Beijing, all parties believed that an agreement should be reached prior to late this year. Besides, the Ministry of Commerce will renew its efforts to push for FTA negotiation between Thailand and Europe, UK, and other countries, such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Source: InfoQuest, by Tanit Tongnok/Rachada/ Wilawan, translated by Xinhua Silk Road
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