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Thailand 'keeping a close eye' on US-China conflict

May 25. 2020
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By The Nation

The Ministry of Commerce and the private sector are monitoring the conflict between US and China, as a trade war could erupt again, Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said.

She said the ministry and the private sector would draft a plan to push exports to cope with the situation, as this conflict may impact several countries’ economies and exports.

“We have to monitor this situation closely, especially before the US presidential election because we cannot predict US President Donald Trump’s moves,” she said.

She expected that the US would issue up to three measures on China or other countries, especially increasing tariffs on products, such as automobiles.

“We will discuss with the private sector about the impact on exports,” she added. “If we are lucky, we may turn the crisis into an opportunity.”

Prachya Samalapa, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, expected Thailand to benefit from this conflict, especially from the opportunity to promote the country as a supply chain for some industries as China begins to move production to Thailand and Asean countries to supply materials.

“After the US accused China of causing the Covid-19 outbreak, China was forced to find partners in countries nearby, which can be seen from the opening of checkpoints to enable Thailand to export agricultural goods, such as durian,” he said.

Regarding Panasonic’s decision to move production from Thailand to Vietnam, he said it was usual because companies worldwide have to reorganise their structure to be in line with the situation and production cost.

“We expect businesses to reorganise their structure following the Covid-19 outbreak due to the decline in purchasing orders,” he added. “Meanwhile, the government sector and the Thai Chamber of Commerce will find a way to enable companies to be able to continue their business.”

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