By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The Commerce Ministry insists that the United States has not banned Thai products after the Kingdom was downgraded in its "Trafficking in Persons" report last month.
To ensure smooth trade relations in the future, Thailand is scheduled to send a mission to Washington and some US states this month.
Boonyarit Kalayanamit, spokesman for the ministry, said the US had not banned any Thai products, but only suspended some cooperation and assistance in certain sectors, such as support for an educational and cultural exchange programme.
He said the US could not cite non-trade issues such as environmental or labour protection to sanction Thai products as that could breach the World Trade Organisation’s rules.
However, to ensure smooth growth of trade growth with the US in the short and long runs, the ministry’s overseas trade representatives have sent open letter to trade partners and trade associations in each market outlining Thailand’s good labour practices and labour-protection measures.
The ministry has also collaborated with private agencies to open a Facebook page to deal with questions people might have about labour issues.
The government will also formally ask the US government not to ban any cooperation with Thailand.
Late this month, a team consisting of representatives from both the government and the private sector will be sent to the US to clarify the labour issue.
By the end of the month, the government will also invite major importers such as Costco, Wal-Mart and Tesco to visit Thai seafood plants and inspect supply chains from upstream to downstream.