The Commerce Ministry has set an export growth target for 2024 of 1.99% to roughly US$288 billion or 10 trillion baht.
Speaking after a joint meeting chaired by Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai on Thursday with heads of the ministry's agencies and representatives from the private sector to formulate plans to expedite export and border trade activities for the remainder of this year and 2024, permanent commerce secretary Keerati Rushchano said the target aligns closely with private sector estimates of 1-2% growth in exports next year.
Mr Keerati said export prospects for 2024 would become clearer once the ministry makes an official announcement regarding this year's performance.
"Today's discussions focused mainly on plans to expedite exports and border trade activities in the remaining months of this year and throughout 2024," he said. "The International Trade Promotion Department has already conducted 73 activities, generating export values of 11.4 billion baht this year. For the upcoming year, preparations are for 417 activities expected to generate revenue of 65.7 billion baht."
The meeting also acknowledged plans outlined by the Foreign Trade Department to promote cross-border trade and investment from 2024 to 2027, aiming to increase the value of cross-border and transit trade to 2 trillion baht by 2027.
According to Mr Keerati, plans include increasing the number of border checkpoints and establishing one-stop service centres in additional provinces such as Sa Kaeo and Chanthaburi following the success in seven pilot provinces: Chiang Rai, Tak, Trat, Songkhla, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan.
He said events such as border trade fairs, collaborative promotions and economic connectivity within a regional framework would be pursued using four strategies: improving Thailand's competitiveness; increasing the number of border checkpoints; leveraging trade agreement benefits; and promoting investment.
Mr Phumtham said the ministry wants to maintain export growth next year amid positive signals and a potential resolution of the Israel-Hamas conflict in the near future.
According to the ministry's latest data, exports increased for a second consecutive month in September, up by 2.1% year-on-year to $25.5 billion, while imports fell by 8.3% to $23.4 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.09 billion.
For the first nine months of the year, exports fell by 3.8% to $213 billion, while imports decreased by 6% to $219 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $5.83 billion.
In a related development, the International Trade Promotion Department signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday with Thai Airways International Plc and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to collaborate in promoting Thai products, services and soft power. The collaboration is meant to leverage the strengths of each organisation to drive market growth.