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Delegation to US works to upgrade Thailand's labour status

Mar 12. 2015
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By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THE N

THAILAND has high hopes that its efforts to improve labour rights will be reflected in the next revision of the United States' "Trafficking in Persons" (TIP) report, which is due in May.
To publicise Thailand’s attempts to clean up its act and improve labour standards in the fisheries, foods, and other industries, eight government agencies as well as Thai exporters will group together for missions to the US and the European Union.
Bhumindr Harinsut, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said that during the past year, state agencies and private enterprises had been struggling to work on labour issues and to show the world that the country is highly concerned about labour problems.
“We [the private sector] hope that the US and the EU will see our strong attempts to solve the problems. Our major trading partners are still confident in our manufacturing and labour standards,” he said.
The US is scheduled to release its revisions on the TIP report in late May.
Bhumindr expects that US firms will continue to import Thai products. To make sure of that, eight government agencies will set up a mission in Boston this month to publicise the Kingdom’s ambition to improve its labour reputation. 
Collaborating in this mission are the ministries of Labour, Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, Social Development and Human Security, Justice, Commerce, and Public Health, as well as the Royal Thai Police and the Board of Trade of Thailand. Some Thai trade associations will also participate.
A similar mission will be set up in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, next month.
While in the US, the Thai delegation will also join “Seafood Expo North America 2015” from today through Wednesday to promote Thailand’s activities on solving labour problems. And while it is in Brussels, the team will join the “Seafood Expo Global” and “Seafood Processing Global” events from April 21-23. 
Bhumindr said the team would also meet with government agencies and lobbyists to showcase Thailand’s efforts during the past year.
However, if this effort does not pay off, Thailand could be kept in the third tier of the TIP report, categorised as weak at solving labour problems. If so, Thailand’s foods and fisheries industries could be banned or sanctioned by the US government. The US could also cut its support in dealing with trade-related issues, Bhumindr said.
According to the chamber, export of Thai fisheries products was worth about Bt100 billion, and its volume 560,000 tonnes, last year. 
As of last month, about 1.62 million foreigners were working in the Kingdom.
 

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