InfoQuest (December 3, 2019) -- From January to October in 2019, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) served as a key driving force in livestock export volume increase in Thailand, said Ms. Onmon Sapthawitham from the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN). In this period, Thailand exported 3.373 billion U.S. dollar livestock products to foreign markets, up 3.5 percent compared with the same period of 2018. Of them, 2.387 billion U.S. dollar livestock products were shipped out to Thai FTA partners, accounting for 71 percent of Thailand's total livestock export volume, up 9 percent from the like period of 2018.
China (181 million U.S. dollars, up 234 percent), South Korea (134 million U.S. dollars, up 43 percent), China's Hong Kong (86 million U.S. dollars, up 5 percent) and Japan (1.498 billion U.S. dollars, up 3 percent) were among those countries and regions who imported more livestock products from Thailand. Processed chicken and fresh, refrigerated and frozen chicken saw most impressive growth among Thai exports. In terms of the export volume of the two types of products, Thailand ranked first and fifth in the world respectively. In the ten months, the combined total export volume of the two types of products of Thailand amounted to 2.802 billion U.S. dollars, up 8 percent from the same period in 2018.
According to Ms. Onmon, Thai enterprises operating in modern food production and processing industry have an edge in skilled labor force, professional technologies, ability to develop market-oriented products, an efficient farm system that can well control and prevent the spread of epidemic diseases and more importantly, preferential tariffs under FTA. Notably, FTA-based preferential treatment has given Thailand an edge and made Thai products more competitive in markets of trading partners, emerging as a key force in driving the sustained growth of Thai livestock exports.
Among 18 countries and regions signing 13 FTAs with Thailand, nine have abolished import tariffs on all Thai livestock products. They are China, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Brunei and Hong Kong. The remaining nine have canceled import tariffs on some of Thai livestock products, continuing to levy import tariffs on some livestock products sourced from Thailand. They are Japan, South Korea, India, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Laos.
DTN plans to use FTAs to drive Thai trading partners to open more livestock markets for Thailand. Reviewing FTAs that were signed, are under negotiation (FTAs with Turkey, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and will be negotiated (FTA with EU) is part of its plan. EU is one of Thailand's major livestock export markets.
When we analyze every export market for Thai products, we find virtually every country signing FTA with Thailand has imported more from this country from the year when each FTA entered into force to 2018. To name a few, ASEAN's livestock import volume from Thailand grew by 4,316 percent, China 2,743 percent, South Korea 528 percent and Japan 403 percent. This matches with 2018 data fact that livestock was one of the exports with the highest amount of preferential rights applied by Thai enterprises under FTA.
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