Need for better protection for SMEs amid cheap imports

Need for better protection for SMEs amid cheap imports

A woman waits for customers during a recent SME Thailand Expo hosted by the Industry Ministry to promote small and medium-sized businesses. (File photo)
A woman waits for customers during a recent SME Thailand Expo hosted by the Industry Ministry to promote small and medium-sized businesses. (File photo)

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need better protection against the influx of cheap Chinese products to maintain their competitiveness, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Some products need inspection as they may not meet safety and environmental standards.

The import of Chinese products has caused some local manufacturers, especially SMEs, to reduce production by 50%, said Kriengkrai Thiennukul, chairman of the FTI.

"We have been calling on the government to help businesses and deal with the problem," he said.

Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul earlier instructed the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) to work with the Customs Department to inspect the quality of imported goods, especially those under the supervision of the TISI.

The move is aimed at stopping the influx of cheap substandard goods.

"But many low-quality products are still imported to Thailand," said Mr Kriengkrai.

Many manufacturers need to change or reduce their production plans as they cannot compete with Chinese manufacturers who sell cheaper products.

"Some entrepreneurs decided to adjust their businesses by temporarily shutting down their factories and turning themselves into the importers of Chinese products," said Mr Kriengkrai.

If the import of cheap products continues to increase, local supply chains will bear the brunt, he said.

The FTI said earlier the influx of cheap Chinese goods is affecting local manufacturers across 20 sectors, including steel, aluminium, plastics, ceramics, petrochemicals and medicine.

The import volume will continue to rise if the government does not improve its product certification process.

According to Tata Steel Thailand Plc (TSTH), a unit of India's largest steelmaker, Thailand's capacity utilisation in the steel industry continues to decrease, following the slow economic recovery in Thailand and the influx of cheap steel from China.

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (3)