By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
Poj Aramwattananont, president of the Thai Frozen Foods Association, said Thailand needs to accept the US rating, although there are doubts over the US’ consideration, as the Kingdom had seriously cracked down on human trafficking and solved labour problems during the past year.
Now all involved associations will carefully read the US’ explanation for keeping the country in Tier 3. If any doubtful or unfair assessment is found, Thailand will argue immediately since the public and private sectors have tackled the trafficking problem very seriously and the outcome can be significantly tangible.
The TIP report released late on Monday night cited the Thai government’s failure to comply with standards, noting the trial of journalists. However, the US upgraded Malaysia to Tier 2.
US President Barack Obama will decide in September whether to take any action against Thailand’s trade in certain industries. Last year, Obama had not yet placed any sanctions on Thailand’s trade.
Somsak Paneetatyasai, president of the Thai Shrimp Association, said that although the US had kept Thailand in Tier 3 for another year, that should not affect Thailand’s trade or result in other non-trade barriers. It would only be a blemish on the country’s image.
“Thailand needs time to proceed with our measures in combating human trafficking. The government and private enterprises have proceeded on the right track in solving the trafficking problem. The US should upgrade Thailand’s trade status next year,” he said.
Chanintr Chalisarapong, president of the Thai Tuna Industry Association, said the Thai government has made tremendous efforts to suppress trafficking in persons during the past year.
“Despite remaining in Tier 3, Thailand’s trading partners, particularly the US and the EU, will continue to trade with Thai traders, as private enterprises have clearly proved to their trading partners the high standard of labour treatment in many industries, especially fisheries,” he said.
Thanavath Phonvichai, director of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Economic and Business Forecasting Centre, said Thai trade should not be impacted by the TIP report, as private firms made their own contracts and have a programme to create understanding among individual firms.