By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
Thai exporters have relayed various problems to the Commerce Ministry – chiefly non-tariff barriers, labour issues, and their low competitiveness – and have called on the government to help them solve the problems promptly warning that Thai shipments will continue to slump.
They said action was needed to give Thai shipments a competitive edge over rivals.
A food industry source said problems covered many sectors.
In the agriculture and food industries, non-tariff barriers were the key obstruction for Thai products penetrating many markets, the source said.
The European Union warning to Thailand to eradicate illegal labour in its fisheries industry and the United States’ close monitoring of the illegal labour issue had eroded the confidence of traders to order more products from Thailand, the source said.
Thai food and agriculture products had also faced import restrictions and quota limits to some countries, while the cost of raw materials was quite high due to a high import duty.
The source also highlighted the problem of Halal certification, as it was only certified for one year and that was too short to continue to drive export growth of Halal food to many markets. The private sector representatives called on the relevant agency to provide a two-year Halal certification.
Food exports to Indonesia had also been hit due to the Halal-certifying problem, the source said.
In the industry sector, most Thai shipments have taken a hit after losing tax privileges when the EU cut the Generalised System of Preferences for Thai products early this year.
Many industries have faced a shortage of labour, higher production costs, and production moving to other countries.
For lifestyle products, enterprises have faced a lack of technology and financial support for quality and design development, while they also had to contend with higher production costs and many regulations – mostly in the form non-tariff barriers in each import market.
In a bid to solve the myriad problems, Commerce Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya will today call for a meeting with each industry to discuss problems and hopefully find solutions.