Commerce Ministry eyes Asian top-five trade ranking

Commerce Ministry eyes Asian top-five trade ranking

Strategy draws from value-added sectors

The Commerce Ministry has set a goal to raise Thailand's international trade value to Asia's top five by 2027, up from eighth in 2019, by focusing on value-added industries such as digital, food and healthcare.

To achieve the goal, Thailand would need to fetch at least $12 billion in export value a year or $1 billion monthly, said Somdet Susomboon, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department.

"We have set the focus mainly on Asia because exporters in the region are the major suppliers to the world market," Mr Somdet said.

In 2019, China (including Hong Kong) took the lead based on international trade value in Asia with $3.03 trillion, followed by Japan ($705.56 billion), South Korea ($542.23 billion), Singapore ($390.42 billion) and India ($324.21 billion).

Taiwan ranked sixth with $305.06 billion, followed by Vietnam with $264.26 billion. Thailand was eighth with $245.24 billion. It ranked No.23 among the world's exporters last year.

Mr Somdet said key supporting factors are the government's policy to support S-curve industries in the Eastern Economic Corridor and Thailand's capability in containing the Covid-19 outbreak.

The government's targeted S-curve industries are cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education development.

According to Mr Somdet, the department is speeding up working on strategic plans covering the short, medium and long terms to seek new markets and product diversification.

The new strategic plans also include assistance to entrepreneurs to export more products through online channels.

The medium and long term plans, meanwhile, aim to promote exports through and support the expansion of online business matching, virtual trade fair activities and overseas online platforms by selecting product champions under a marketing-led production strategy.

Additionally, 58 Thai trade centres worldwide will function as chiefs of the country's sales force, working with the private sector to seek new markets.

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