InfoQuest (October 28, 2019) - The United States' announcement on October 25 of canceling GSP treatment for some Thai products has little impact on Thailand's target for 2019 of increasing exports to the United States by 4 percent as most of the products were pre-ordered and have been delivered, said Mr. Somdet Susomboon, inspector and acting director-general of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce of Thailand (MOC). In the first nine months, Thai exports accounted for 73-75 percent of the year's total. That's because importers in Thailand are speeding up ordering products before the above announcement takes effect in the near future.
DITP has held discussions with the private sector, and the two parties have initially formulated supporting measures to find alternative markets and related activities to boost exports. Specifically, there are seven measures:
1. DITP will stage relevant business activities from the end of this year until the above announcement comes into effect. It is expected that this effort will accelerate importers' placing orders for products covered by these activities. As a result, orders may be more than usual during this period, especially for processed foods, rubber products, as well as electronics with production bases in Thailand. At the same time, according to GSP rules, the United States has restored GSP treatment for seven categories of Thai products, including frozen fish, fresh orchids, truffles, cocoa powder, reptile skins, eyeglass lenses and voltage controller components. In this connection, DITP will redouble its efforts to expand the market share of these products in the United States.
2. DITP will accelerate risk diversification, look for more export markets, and develop new markets for affected products. Dictated by the Thai Minister of Commerce, DITP has appointed many commercial counselors as salesmen for Thai products to look for markets and investigate market demands. From the near future to mid-2020, DITP will implement an emergency plan to explore more markets and stimulate demand for Thai products in target countries and regions, such as India, the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Bahrain, South Africa, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Turkey, Russia, CLMV countries, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
3. DITP will encourage Thai industrial and agricultural producers and food processors to take Thai baht's appreciation to their advantage to set up sales offices in the United States or other countries that have signed free trade agreements with the United States, such as Canada, Chile and Mexico, in order to enjoy preferential rights in exporting products to the United States. In addition, improving the competitiveness of Thai products by using advanced technology is also very important.
4. DITP will continue to strengthen relationship with all importers and cooperation with medium-sized importers and SMEs enterprises in various countries through various activities.
5. DITP will work to stimulate the demand for Thai products in foreign markets by, for example, holding promotional activities in department stores, supermarkets and Thai restaurants in various countries and staging promotional activities for Thai products in various markets.
6. DITP will give higher priority to product quality and standardization, develop products in line with market trends by using innovative technologies, strengthen the brand strength of Thai products and value intellectual property rights, thereby sharpening the competitive edge of Thai products.
7. DITP will give play to the role of thaitrade.com in driving trade, an online trade channel designed to boost Thai exports together with traditional trade channels. In the meanwhile, DITP will also cooperate with online platforms of major partner countries to open the Top Thai Flagship Store to sell Thai products on foreign platforms. In November, the first Top Thai Flagship Store jointly opened by DITP and China's TMall Global will be put into trial operation, and will be gradually extended to other major countries worldwide in the future.
Source: InfoQuest, by Phana/Tanawat/Sasithorn, translated by Xinhua Silk Road.
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