The new permanent secretary for commerce has vowed to adjust measures to stabilise people's cost of living and stimulate exports, especially border trade, while developing soft power over the coming year.
Keerati Rushchano said the ministry looks set to move forward with nine important policies during his tenure, which lasts through 2028.
He said the Commerce Ministry would emphasise: tackling the cost of living for Thais; agricultural management under a marketing-led production strategy; accelerating exports and border trade; speeding up finalising free trade agreements (FTAs); public services development; small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and micro SME promotion and development; accelerating business registration and promoting the commercialisation of intellectual property; soft power promotion; and the back-office development of human resources to serve the public.
Mr Keerati said the ministry pledges to continue its measures aimed at controlling the cost of living as well as product and service prices, which are expected to stay relatively high because of rising energy prices and raw material price volatility over the next 3-6 months.
The ministry is keeping tabs on prices through the Prices of Goods and Services Act, particularly price labelling, while provincial commerce officers nationwide have been assigned to closely monitor the prices of goods and services to ensure fair trade.
"The ministry will continue policies asking for cooperation from producers to help cap product prices next year in order to mitigate people's costs of living," he said.
According to Mr Keerati, the ministry is working on developing some "New Year gifts" for Thai consumers and it is expected to submit them soon for cabinet consideration.
In terms of agricultural product management, the ministry set a rice export target of 8 million tonnes next year, up from an estimated 7.5 million tonnes this year.
He said rice and tapioca export prospects are promising next year as global demand is rising.
In terms of exports, the ministry vows to accelerate shipments and border trade via proactive marketing and promotions, said Mr Keerati. The International Trade Promotion Department is holding discussions with the private sector to set an export target and expects to reach a conclusion within two weeks.
He said the ministry plans to promote soft power next year through four target products and services: Thai food and restaurants; health and beauty; Thai identity products, such as fashion, furniture and home decoration; and digital content, such as film, animation, games and cartoons.
Mr Keerati said the ministry is working with related agencies in the public and private sectors to add value and raise the country's export competitiveness next year.
He said the ministry wants to accelerate the process of helping exporters make the best use of privileges offered via 14 FTAs. Next year, the ministry aims to increase the number of trade talks it holds with potential dialogue partners, including Canada, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey and Pakistan.
In addition, Mr Keerati said the ministry plans to move forward with promoting the potential of SMEs and MSMEs having more trade and export opportunities, while also developing the ministry's online and IT systems to reduce the cost of conducting business.