Shipments seen keeping pace into 2019
Officials eye repeat of 9% growth amid risks
The government expects the country's export prospects next year to be on a par with this year's performance.
Chantira Jimreivat Vivatrat, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said that absent major risks, Thailand's exports next year should equal this year's projected growth of 9%.
"We are strongly upbeat that Thailand has a chance to export more products, given the world's growing economy and concerted efforts by all parties to drive shipments," she said.
But Mrs Chantira acknowledged that next year is rife with risks such as volatile foreign exchange and uncertain trade policies and measures by Thailand's major trading partners, particularly the ongoing trade spat between the US and China.
She said a joint meeting of Thai trade officials and international commercial counsellors from overseas operations worldwide to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak will be held on Oct 18 this year to evaluate the export outlook and adjust the forecast.
The meeting is also expected to come up with a new forecast for exports, Mrs Chantira said, and the figures will reach 10% this year.
Earlier in July, Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said that with a number of positive factors such as the weak baht, continued efforts to seek new markets and limited impact from the escalating trade row, exports could grow at a double-digit rate this year.
"The impact of the trade spat between these two giant economies is unlikely to be significant [for Thailand], and Thailand expects to gain more opportunities to export frozen foods such as shrimp, poultry, pork and canned tuna to both the US and China," he said.
Mr Sontirat said Thailand is also eligible to buy more seafood at cheaper prices to be processed for exports. But he said the industry remains concerned by a possible flood of seafood onto the Thai market.
"It's quite hard to evaluate the country's export growth because of the fast-changing trade conditions, but the Commerce Ministry strongly believes Thai exports will exceed 8% and possibly record double-digit growth this year," he said.
For the first eight months of this year, exports rose 10% from the same period last year to US$169 billion (5.84 trillion baht).
Exports in baht terms rose 1.9% from the same period of last year to 5.3 trillion baht. Imports rose for the same period by 15.9% to $167 billion, yielding a trade surplus of $2.35 billion.
Mrs Chantira said the Commerce Ministry pledges to expand strategic partnership with more partners to expand trade and investment.
The ministry also plans to focus more on stimulating exports for niche markets next year such as the elderly, pets, environmental conservation, wellness and digital content.