By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The International Trade Promotion Department will next month send a trade mission to Latin America to aggressively promote Thai goods during the upcoming World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
The mission, involving some 28 Thai enterprises, will cover Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia.
Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, the department’s director general, who will lead the mission, said the trip would focus on encouraging more food exports to the Latin American market in order to meet the demand during the football competition.
The mission also aims to seek investment in the manufacturing sector, particularly in auto parts and machinery.
“Latin America is one of the potential markets for many Thai products and offers good opportunity thanks to huge demand for many products,” Nuntawan said.
With Thailand’s export growth target set at a moderate 5 per cent this year, the department is aiming to double the numbers by driving more export into Latin America.
Consumption is expected to increase significantly as several million travellers and football fans home in on Brazil and nearby countries during the World Cup, offering Thai exporters a greater opportunity to cash in, she said. Demand for food, sports shirts and licensed Fifa World Cup products is expected to rise at that time.
According to the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association, four leading manufacturers – Hi-Tech, Nice, Hing Leng and Liberty groups – have been employed by top brands such as Nike and Adidas to produce shirts for football clubs and fans under their licence. Thai firms have orders from 10 of the 32 national teams that have joined World Cup 2014 and will be producing about 3 million units of apparel.
Meanwhile, agencies such as Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai National Shippers Council and other trade associations that are participating in the trip will also have the opportunity to match up with their counterparts in Latin America.
Thailand already has a free-trade agreement with Peru and Chile, and since these countries also have free-trade pacts with other countries in Latin America, there should be an increased flow of Thai products in the region.
According to the department, Thai exports to Latin America grew 0.5 per cent in the first two months of the year to US$1.22 billion (Bt39.69 billion), and account for 3.4 per cent of Thailand’s total export value.
In February alone, exports increased 4.9 per cent year-on-year to $624 million.