By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
WITH EASING tension over labour issues in Thailand, the fishery industry expects exports of seafood products to grow by 2-3 per cent this year after a slight drop in the first half.
Moreover, private enterprises expect the European Union to cancel its “yellow card” on the industry, or at least refrain for another six months from issuing a red card, after it sees the serious attempts made to tackle human trafficking and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
After the United States upgraded Thailand to the Tier 2 Watch List in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, Poj Aramwattananont, chairman of the Thai Fishery Producers Coalition (TFPC), said that with better consumer confidence on Thai labour issues, fishery exports should grow stronger this year.
The coalition reported that export of seafood products was down 1.25 per cent in the first half of this year because of lower demand in the world market.
However, private exporters foresee a positive outcome from the TIP Report upgrade.
“Thai exports have passed the lowest level and should recover in the second half of the year. Although result of the Brexit [vote] may cause the exchange rate to fluctuate, exporters expect the Bank of Thailand and the Finance Ministry to monitor currency movements closely in order to prevent impacts on Thai export growth,” Poj said.
He said the fact that the US had shown more confidence in Thai labour standards should persuade the EU to recognise the attempt of the Thai government and private enterprises to tackle human trafficking and IUU fishing.
He added that although a better status in the TIP Report has been achieved, the government and private enterprises would continue to tackle human trafficking and get rid off illegal employment as well as create fair practices for all labourers and focus on sustainable fishing.
The TFPC, which comprises eight fishery-related associations, has expressed its deep appreciation for the government’s promotion of sustainable fishing and for tackling trafficking.