InfoQuest, (May 13, 2020) -- Despite the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on global exports, Thailand's exports to ASEAN member countries in the first quarter of 2020 were still up 4.35 percent compared with the same period in 2019, with total exports reaching 16.280 billion U.S. dollars. This was mainly driven by a 251.1 percent spike in gold exports as gold prices rose on world markets due to higher consumer demand for safe haven assets, according to Ms. Onmon Subthawitham, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN).
Ms. Onmon added that Thailand's exports to ASEAN in the first quarter of 2020 still saw growth in many product categories, particularly consumer goods, as more consumers prepared for the virus crisis. Beverages, for example, grew by 3.1 percent, wheat products and other instant food products grew by 7.4 percent, seasonings by 17.3 percent, canned seafood by 34.4 percent, and cosmetics, soap and skin-care products by 4.7 percent.
The exports of agricultural products and processed agricultural products also grew well. For example, granulated sugar grew by 13.9 percent, rubber by 13.6 percent, processed chicken by 11.5 percent, fresh eggs by 52.1 percent and other animal products by 137.2 percent.In terms of industrial products, the exports of aircraft, spacecraft and components surged by 1,079.36 percent, while air conditioning and components by 25.4 percent.
In terms of the utilization of preferential tariffs under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement(AFTA) from January to February 2020, it was found that the products experiencing sound export growth were also those who more utilized preferential tariff treatment compared with the same period last year. For example, the preferential tariffs in sugar cane products stood at 178.56 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 38.39 percent; those in UHT milk and soy milk reached 85.28 million U.S. dollars, up 127.24 percent; those in sauces and seasonings, and other products used for flavoring totaled 277.1 billion U.S. dollars, up 20.05 percent. All import tariffs have been lifted among ASEAN members except for some sensitive products, while Thailand still levies a 5 percent import duty on copra, coffee beans, flowers and potatoes.
"Free trade agreements (FTAs) are an important factor that can help Thailand reduce the burden of tax costs, increase exports and promote economic growth during a crisis that has caused global trade uncertainty. Therefore, we hope that enterprises and exporters can make full use of FTAs that Thailand has sighed with other countries to boost the growth of Thai exports," said Ms. Onmon.
ASEAN is Thailand's largest trading partner and largest import and export market. In 2019, the trade volume between Thailand and ASEAN totaled 107.928 billion U.S. dollars, of which the export value was62.904 billion U.S. dollars and the import value was 45.024 billion U.S. dollars, leading to a trade surplus of 17.880 billion U.S. dollars. Trade volume between Thailand and ASEAN increased by 976 percent in 2019 compared with that in 1992, the year before the AFTA came into effect, with exports up 1,301 percent.
Source: InfoQuest, by Phana / Kasamarporn/ Rachada, translated by Xinhua Silk Road Notice: No person, organization and/orcompany shall disseminate or broadcast the above article on Xinhua Silk Road websitewithout prior permission by Xinhua Silk Road.