Export growth goal rises to 7%
Somkid seeks trade talks to boost demand
Thailand has officially revised up its 2017 export growth target to 7% from a previous forecast of 5% after witnessing strong growth over the last few months, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
"I think what we have done over the past several months is satisfying," he said, adding that he agreed with the Commerce Ministry's revised forecast of 7%.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the ministry expects 2017 export values to rise by 7% to US$230.5 billion (7.66 trillion baht).
"That means we have to export at around $19.6 billion per month during the rest of the year to push total exports to reach the target," she said, adding that strong export growth over the past several months also helped push Thailand closer to the goal.
Exports in July climbed 10.5% to $18.9 billion, shrugging off the strengthening local currency as demand for Thai goods rose in line with the recovering global economy.
The result was that exports for the first seven months totalled $132.4 billion baht, up 8.2% year-on-year, the highest rate in six years.
The business sector has voiced similar opinions about exports and is expected to revise its forecast soon.
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is set to meet over the next few weeks and is likely to revise up its 2017 export target from the previous forecast of 3.5%-4%, according to Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
To help achieve the higher export target, Mr Somkid said Thailand will set up more bilateral trade talks and negotiations with strategic partners to capitalise on rising demand and purchasing power from those partners that are stronger because of the global economic recovery.
"One of those strategic partners is China, and we aim to benefit more from its One Belt, One Road policy," Mr Somkid said.
He said Thailand also plans to tighten its trade relationships with other traditional big markets such as Russia, India and Hong Kong.
Furthermore, the Commerce Ministry will penetrate more emerging markets, such as Africa, Central America and Latin America, he said.
In addition, the Commerce Ministry will rev up its strategic marketing plan via the e-commerce platform that has helped boost Thai exports substantially over the past few years and is set to play a major role in global trade in the future.
Mr Somkid said he has assigned the Commerce Ministry's Trade and Strategy Office to study the Thai service sector and help it brush up on its performance and ability to generate more export value via the tourism, construction, medical and healthcare sectors.
He said the office will conduct a study ahead of launching its own index to measure the growth and performance of the service sector and how much it contributes to total Thai annual export income.
"The data we get from the study will also help us implement appropriate supporting measures if needed," Mr Somkid said.
The deputy prime minister recently assigned the Board of Investment to introduce incentives to help encourage investment in the agri-processing sector and add value to Thai farm products.