By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
The government’s business matchmaking role last week led to deals worth at least US$13 million being hatched.
Malee Choklumlerd, director-general of the Department for International Trade Promotion (DITP), said the Thai Trade Office in Tehran had arranged for 13 traders from the Kish Free Zone – a tax-free island in Iran – to participate in the event in Bangkok. They met representatives of more than 60 Thai firms at the gathering, which was organised by the DITP.
“After the matching activity, this resulted in an immediate US$3 million sale for a shipment from Thailand to Iran in March,” Malee said. “More orders from Iranian buyers of Thai products worth about $10 million will follow in the remaining months of the year.”
Iranian buyers are particularly interested in canned-sweet corn, jewellery and ornaments, children’s clothes, crafts, household goods, wooden furniture, and kitchenware.
The business-matching activity is part of the ministry’s export promotion push into emerging markets, including the Middle East. Iran is a new target market after the lifting of trade sanction on the country. Order arising from the Bangkok event will help supply needs for the Norooz Festival, Iran’s New Year festival.
With more trade promotion activities planned, trade between Thailand and Iran is expected to grow by 5 per cent this year.
Among the 13 Iranian traders at the event, four were from the household goods and home decor sector, four were involved in agriculture and food, three were in the fashion industry, with one each from the spa and cosmetics business and from the herbal business.
Together, these traders supply more than 2,000 department stores and large trade shops in and around Kish Island. Iran is the second-largest country in the Middle East region, with 78 million people – many of whom have strong purchasing power.
Two-way trade between Thailand and Iran was worth US$367.97 million in the first 11 months of last year. Of this, $242.75 million comprised exports from Thailand, an increase of 21.64 per cent.
Imports amounted to $125.22 million, up 36.49 per cent.
Major exports to Iran included wooden products, rubber and rubber products, canned and processed fruits, beverages and plastic products.