Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit vows to play a key part in developing local economies through online shopping and interprovincial trade fairs to boost incomes.
Speaking at the 100th anniversary of the Commerce Ministry, Mr Jurin said yesterday that the ministry needs a big adjustment to cope with the ongoing crisis.
"Provincial commerce officers must function as provincial salesmen to coordinate with the local private sector and farmers to enhance market connectivity," Mr Jurin said.
For instance, provincial commerce officers in southern provinces may hold trade fairs, selling products from northeastern provinces such as garlic or onions to enable shoppers there to buy them at affordable prices.
Provincial commerce officers are also expected to function as intermediaries for potential buyers and sellers between regions or provinces, improving interprovincial or inter-regional trade.
These officers should be more active in promoting border trade and work closely with neighbouring countries to promote bilateral border trade, Mr Jurin said.
In fiscal 2021, the Commerce Ministry has been assigned 100 million baht to hold interprovincial trade fairs and bring entrepreneurs in provinces with relatively low purchasing power to sell products in areas with high purchasing power, like Bangkok.
The ministry also pledges to enhance e-commerce knowledge among farmers and entrepreneurs so they can sell their products at home and abroad.
Mr Jurin said the ministry will continue focusing on overseeing cost of living and plans to extend programmes to sell low-priced goods to help alleviate the burden of Thai consumers.
At the international level, commercial counsellors at overseas offices worldwide should work as the country's salesmen to boost exports, he said.
The ministry is also accelerating bilateral and multilateral negotiations to expand markets, such as through trade agreements between Thailand and Europe, Britain and other potential partners.
Thailand has 13 free trade agreements in place, including the Thailand-New Zealand FTA, which requires self-declaration for proof of origin, and the Asean-Hong Kong FTA under which import tariffs on most products from Thailand were already waived before the pact was signed.