Thailand acts to soften impact of US suspension of trade benefits
BANGKOK, VNA – Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce has announced that it will adopt seven measures to soften the impact of the US suspension of trade benefits for the Southeast Asian country.
Scheduled to take effect on April 25, 2020, the suspensions cover a total of 573 types of goods which will no longer receive duty-free treatment and will face import tariffs of 4-5 percent worth 1.5-1.8 billion baht (50-60 million USD) annually.
It is estimated that Thai exporters will see 39.2 billion baht (1.3 billion USD) of benefits under the generalised system of preferences (GSP) removed.
Somdet Susomboon, acting director-general of the Department of International Trade Promotion, said the department has prepared the seven measures to mitigate the impact of the US action.
The first priority is to increase exports to the US over the next six months before the GSP cuts become effective, said Somdet.
During this period, US buyers are expected to stockpile their supplies of affected goods, particularly processed food, rubber products and electrical appliances.
He said the US has also decided to restore trade benefits to seven Thai products including fresh-cut orchids and cocoa powder, so the department will seek to expand the market share for these goods.
Another measure is to find new markets for the affected products, he said, adding that India, Bahrain, Qatar, South Africa, Japan, the UK, the European Union, and Russia are among potential markets.
Due to the strong baht, Thai entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry and the processed food sector will be encouraged to invest in technologies to increase their competitiveness or invest in countries with which the US has free trade agreements, to gain access to the US market.
The other measures include beefing up trade roadshows and export promotion activities; promoting the use of national e-commerce platform Thaitrade.com and seeking partnerships with e-commerce firms to boost exports; and strengthening Thai brands by maintaining product quality and standards.
According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, bilateral trade under the GSP reached 4.4 billion USD in 2018. - VNA