BCG development seen as route to avoid non-tariff barriers
Bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic development can help the country avoid non-tariff barriers as well as become a key tool in cutting carbon emissions, following the government's pledge to promote BCG projects during the Apec summit, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Higher levels of carbon dioxide not only contribute to global warming, but growing concerns over unusual weather patterns around the world are also causing many countries to consider imposing new non-tariff barriers in an effort to help reduce the level of carbon emissions, said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries.
The EU plans to implement the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism or CBAM, which imposes charges on manufacturers that fail to adopt technology that benefits the climate.
Thai exporters, who help drive the country's GDP, may bear the brunt of this if they are not able to adjust their production and depend to a greater degree on clean energy.
The non-tariff barriers could be turned into a new business opportunity if the country promotes more renewable energy development and BCG, said Mr Kriengkrai.
Under BCG, which was declared as a national agenda item by the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration, manufacturers develop techniques that add value to their products and have little or no impact on the environment.
"We believe BCG will be a game changer for Thai businesses in the coming decade," Mr Kriengkrai told a seminar titled "Decarbonise Thailand Symposium 2022".
The agricultural sector can help produce "cleaner" fuels such as gasohol, a mix of gasoline and ethanol, which is derived from sugar and cassava.
"But we lack R&D to raise product prices," said Mr Kriengkrai.
The country has had many projects that share similar aims as BCG, but manufacturers tended to produce low-priced, commodity-grade products for export, he said. With the state's push for BCG, Mr Kriengkrai believes there will be more value-added products in various categories, including biodegradable plastic and bio-fertilisers.
The biodegradable plastic industry has the potential to grow as global manufacturers are seeking new production facilities in Thailand, he said.
In 2016, Thailand emitted 372 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses, more than half of which came from electricity generation and transportation, said Kiatchai Maitriwon, executive director of the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization.