By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
WITH CHANGES in target industries, the Commerce Ministry admits that export expansion will be slight in the short run, while seeing brighter prospects in the long run under the government’s “Industry 4.0” model to focus on 10 industrial clusters.
“Exports could face slowing growth for a while, since many industries have shifted their expansion overseas because of cheap labour and tariff privileges.
“However, exports could expand in the long term after the government turns to focusing on 10 high-tech sophisticated industries, which will add value to exports,” Malee Choklumlerd, director-general of the International Trade Department, said yesterday. Thailand needs to face small export growth or even a decline in the short term since the country no longer focuses on labour-intensive industries and is encouraging some industries to relocate to neighbouring countries.
The 10 “S-curve industries” are next-generation automobiles, smart electronics, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food for the future, robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, and establishing digital and medical hubs.
The industries with local and foreign investors already moving abroad, mainly to neighbouring countries, are textiles and garments, agro-industry, electronics, and hospitality and medical services.
After the promotion of the S-curve industries, exports should grow more strongly in the future, as those industries will create value-added products. In cooperation with the Japan External Trade Organisation, the department has adopted Jetro’s information on 50 focus cities for drawing up export-promotion plans.
The department has translated Jetro’s information on penetrating each city of interest worldwide so that it will understand more about market demand, consumer behaviour and lifestyles.
The department has started with the CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) markets.
The other new export-targeted destinations will be categorised by strong expansion of gross domestic product and increasing purchasing power for various products and services.
The focus markets include Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan, Shenyang and Xian in China; Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata in India; Pakistan’s Karachi and Lahore; Indonesia’s Jakarta; the Philippines’ Manila and Russia’s Moscow among many others.
The ministry will also assign the International Trade Promotion Department to conduct a study of some markets, especially on their consumer behaviour, incomes and the number of tourists and tourist attractions.
Armed with that information, Thai exporters and Thailand’s export promotion team can draw up a strategy to promote exports via the right channels, she added.