By THE NATION
“After the vaccine is available in 2021, we expect international trading and travelling to gradually improve, although not to 100 per cent of what they used to be,” said Wisit Limleucha, president of the Instant Food Manufacturers Association.
“The outbreak has put a stop to international trade fairs, while some organisers have opted to hold virtual fairs online, but the result is still not as good as a real fair that features tangible food that customers can taste.
“An online trade conference, while it helps save travel time, cannot fully facilitate business negotiation between exporters and overseas buyers, therefore the organisation of an actual trade fair is highly important to the food export business,” he added.
“We urge the government to promote trade fairs after the vaccine is available, as we estimate that food manufacturers and restaurants will gradually return to their normal business operation that focuses on customers dining in, whereas at present they are making foods for home delivery due to the current lifestyle,” said Wisit.
Meanwhile, Supan Mongkolsuthee, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said that next year the economy was expected to start recovering. He said banks should continue to provide loans to business operators to strengthen their liquidity.
“As the government starts reopening the country, many industries will gradually improve including tourism, food manufacturing and processed agricultural products,” he said. “However, the export sector might still be suffering from the baht’s strengthening.
“In the past, Thailand has relied heavily on supply chain from China, which has resulted in our manufacturing sector being severely impacted when the outbreak spread in China,” he said.
“To avoid such a problem, we need to promote the building of a domestic supply chain, especially in agricultural products, as well as securing various trade partners to spread the risk in case of any unexpected event.”