Officials boost trade events
The Commerce Ministry is ramping up business matching activity and trade fairs for potential growth products in cosmetics, healthcare and education in an effort to increase shipments.
Banjongjitt Angsusingh, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said Thailand's outbound shipments should remain positive in the remaining months this year if the government can unlock trade obstacles and ease regulations for exports bound for potential markets such as India and China.
"In the third and fourth quarters, prospects for agricultural products, food, jewellery and rubber products remain promising, though industrial products related to supply chains in China may drop," she said. "The department is devising export stimulus measures covering the short, medium and long terms."
In addition to business matching events and trade fairs, the department will reduce some trade promotion events that are now held biannually.
The department organises about 10 trade promotion fairs a year, including Style Bangkok and the Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair.
Mrs Banjongjitt said that despite forecasts predicting a tepid export outlook this year, the Commerce Ministry is maintaining its shipment growth forecast at 3% for 2019 and 3.5% for 2020.
The National Economic and Social Development Council, the state planning unit, cut its estimate on Monday for this year's exports to a contraction of 1.2% from 2.2% growth seen earlier. It also lowered its forecast for 2019 growth to 2.7-3.2% from 3.3%-3.8%.
In a related development, the Foreign Trade Department reported yesterday that the use of free trade agreement (FTA) privileges and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) by Thai exporters totalled US$36.4 billion in the first six months of 2019, down 1.4% from the same period last year.
Of the total value, FTA privilege use tallied $33.8 billion, down 2.7% year-on-year, with shipments under the GSP amounting to $2.6 billion, up 19.3%.
Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the department, said the use of privileges decreased in line with slowing exports amid the ongoing trade war, foreign exchange volatility and easing monetary policy in many countries.
The Asean FTA continued to see the highest use volume for the period, totalling $12.4 billion, followed by the Thai-China FTA at $9.22 billion and Thai-Australia privileges at $4.07 billion.