Chinese-made elephant pants face import ban

Chinese-made elephant pants face import ban

Several tourists are seen sporting the popular elephant-patterned pants as they cross the street outside the Grand Palace. A ban on Chinese imports of the pants was being sought over a possible copyright violation. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Several tourists are seen sporting the popular elephant-patterned pants as they cross the street outside the Grand Palace. A ban on Chinese imports of the pants was being sought over a possible copyright violation. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The Customs Department has been told to ban Chinese imports of elephant-patterned pants as the pattern's copyright has now been registered, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said on Monday.

The Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) is now investigating whether imports from China are continuing, said Mr Phumtham.

Concern about this popular clothing item was raised on a Facebook page, "Lui Chine" or "shoot2china'', which has 1.4 million followers.

The post on Sunday stated that pants that were sold on Chinese online shopping platforms were at least ten times cheaper than here, starting at around 30 baht per piece at the wholesale rate.

The post added that some Thai vendors had imported items from China, with the price starting at 65 baht for shorts and 75 baht for pants.

"[Thai manufacturers] will lose out [the Chinese] in every way. They need to fight back by highlighting the quality of the pants as the main selling point," said the post.

It also suggested the Thai Select certification for standardised manufacturing quality, which was agreed upon by Mr Phumtham, be applied.

Meanwhile, many wholesalers and retailers demanded the government do something about pants made in China.

A vendor in Bo Bae market in Bangkok said the Chinese pants have been popular among visitors for more than a year now as they were a lot cheaper, so the government needed to impose an import tax to help Thai manufacturers.

Another seller in Prathunam market in Bangkok said he wanted agencies to work on control measures, adding that he wanted Thai-made pants to be more popular due to their better quality.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Sunday that the issue surrounding Chinese-made elephant pants is a reminder for the government to resolve copyright issues and marketing appropriation.

When asked about planning and manufacturing expansion, the premier said that instead of looking at those concerns, some fundamental problems, such as copyright protection, needed to be prioritised.

"Small matters like the [Chinese-made] elephant pants reflect a lot on how we need to be quicker working on the nation's protection efforts," said Mr Srettha.

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