Post-pandemic trade overhaul proposed

Post-pandemic trade overhaul proposed

Food-led strategy seen as best option

Thai Organic Platform, one of the e-markets for organic farm produce. According to experts, Thailand should manage its own online platforms in the mould of China's Alibaba.
Thai Organic Platform, one of the e-markets for organic farm produce. According to experts, Thailand should manage its own online platforms in the mould of China's Alibaba.

Thailand needs to review the country's overall trade strategy after the pandemic abates and develop a national digital platform to handle changing global trading systems, according to the Commerce Ministry's planning unit.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said her office is proposing the Commerce Ministry set up a working group to adjust national trade strategies after the pandemic.

"The outbreak has resulted in sea changes in the global trading system, with consumers, traders and exporters opting to rely more on digital platforms," she said. "The government needs to seek appropriate solutions to promote Thailand's online platforms that are instrumental to national development. The Commerce Ministry is working with the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, academics, the private sector and related government agencies to promote online trading platforms, both in domestic and export markets."

According to Ms Pimchanok, Thailand should manage its own online platform like China's Alibaba, in keeping with the country's economic development direction and policies.

"We need to find a proper model if we want to develop our own platform," she said. "The government may rely on existing private platforms and provide full financial support and logistical development."

Ms Pimchanok said focusing more on the food sector is the obvious way forward, developing potential products and industrial sectors.

Thailand has not suffered any food shortages during the pandemic, as is happening for many major trade partners. The food sector still generates high export income for the country.

The government needs to come up with a clear-cut strategy such as R&D to support manufacturers, she said.

Ms Pimchanok said healthcare products and services also offer promising prospects in the wake of the virus crisis.

"The value of e-commerce in Thailand has grown between 8-10% per year, driven by consumer behaviour changes as online channels grow and a number of Thai-international platforms expand to support the number of online shoppers, higher confidence in e-payment and faster logistics and delivery services," she said.

According to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency, the value of Thai e-commerce grew 14% in 2018, reaching 3.2 trillion baht, with growth estimated to hit 20% in 2019.

Thai e-commerce growth was the highest in Asean, attributed to changes in consumer behaviour. In 2017, the value of Thai e-commerce was about 2.7 trillion baht, up from 2.5 trillion and 2.24 trillion baht in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Do you like the content of this article?

Illegal job seekers, guide caught in Kanchanaburi

KANCHANABURI: A total of 154 job seekers from Myanmar, and a guide, were caught after crossing the border illegally into three districts of Kanchanaburi on Tuesday.


Jobs galore

The reopening of diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia has also reopened opportunities for Thai workers, long denied job opportunities there since the infamous theft of jewellery from the Saudi royal palace.


IMF urges El Salvador to remove bitcoin as legal tender

WASHINGTON: The IMF on Tuesday called on El Salvador to change course and stop using bitcoin as legal tender, citing "large risks" posed by the cryptocurrency.