By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
At a meeting yesterday, the committee agreed to set up a subcommittee to study the possibility of Thailand joining the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. The panel will include representatives of government agencies, the private sector and the public to study the potential impacts and benefits of the TPP, and to prepare measures in case Thailand decides to join the pact.
After chairing the meeting, Deputy Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said exports next year could grow by 5 per cent as global economic growth recovers.
“Despite the fact that this target is quite challenging given this year’s declining exports, the government will work closely with private exporters to reach growth of 5 per cent. The government will come up with many strategies to drive export growth next year and in the following years,” he said.
For this year, the ministry has projected that export value will decline by more than 3 per cent to US$216 billion (Bt7.74 trillion).
Next year, export value could recover to $227 billion.
Somkid said export value next year should grow by 5 per cent as there were clearer signs of economic recoveries in many markets, particularly the United States, and stronger growth of emerging markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The global economy is expected to grow by 3.6 per cent, while the baht’s depreciation will help increase export value in the Kingdom.
To improve exports, the committee came up with seven strategies to increase market access and economic cooperation with trading partners.
lStudies into new free-trade agreements will be undertaken, and some existing FTAs will be revised.
lDemand-driven exports to high-potential cities will be emphasised.
lBorder trade will be prioritised.
lThai enterprises will be encouraged to become international traders.
lTrade by service sectors will be supported.
lInnovation will be encouraged, and small and medium-sized enterprises urged to focus on research and development.
lValue-chain creation in the industrial sector will be supported, with industry encouraged to shift from made-to-order goods towards creating their own brands.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said she would chair the subcommittee studying the TPP. The panel should take about a year to study the potential impacts and benefits of the pact, while voicing issues of concern from all sectors involved.
The panel will also draw up measures to alleviate the impacts and study sensitive matters including intellectual-property rights, government procurement, labour, and environmental issues.
The International Trade Develo-pment Committee has also resolved to focus on driving exports of certain key industries, such as automobiles and parts, electronic products, jewellery, and wellness services.
Relevant government agencies will next year come up with concrete measures to promote Thailand as a centre of jewellery and ornament trading.
The Finance Ministry will consider waiving import tariffs for raw materials to support the jewellery industry and adjusting some value-added taxes for jewellery products.
The Commerce Ministry expects that exports of jewellery and ornaments will grow by 5 per cent to $7.9 billion next year.
Nopporn Thepsithar, chairman of the Thai National Shippers Council, said the government had moved in the right direction by setting up long-term measures to support exports.
He believes the export-growth target of 5 per cent could be achieved next year.