Thai economy hit by China’s zero-Covid policy, import restrictions: NESDC

SUNDAY, MAY 08, 2022

China's zero-Covid policy, agricultural import restrictions, and shift away from global dependence will hit Thailand’s economy, warned a government agency on Sunday.

The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said it was monitoring China closely after the country imposed Covid-19 lockdown measures on Shanghai and other cities.

"China's economy expanded by only 4.8 per cent in the first quarter this year, lower than forecasts of more than 5 per cent," said the NESDC, which is Thailand’s national economic planning agency.

Three Chinese policies will impact the global economy, including Thailand, it said.

The first is Beijing’s “Zero Covid” policy.

Lockdowns of large Chinese cities will disrupt Thailand's industrial supply chain for electronics and electric appliances, the NESDC said.

The second policy affecting Thailand is China’s tighter inspections of agricultural imports, especially via land. China temporarily suspended imports of Thai durians last month after discovering traces of Covid-19 among a rail shipment at the Mohan border checkpoint. The price of Thai durian dropped as a result.

NESDC said it had urged a tightening of Thai export standards to meet China's demands.

The third policy is China's switch to stockpiling raw materials for products such as fertilisers, to avoid dependency on imports hit by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and sanctions.

"It appears that China is preparing to deal with crises, including the US and Europe's sanctions on Russia, NESDC said, adding that this will impact Thailand’s economy.