Bt400 million sought to cushion smaller Thai enterprises


BANGKOK, Feb 9 – The Thai Commerce Ministry is proposing to the cabinet next Tuesday an allocation of Bt400 million from the Foreign Trade Promotion Fund to help over 1,500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose businesses have been severely affected by the sharp appreciation of Thai currency and the global economic crisis.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said Bt300 million will be used to support SMEs in their overseas market expansion while Bt100 million will be set aside as an emergency fund, as proposed by the Foreign Trade Department.

If earmarked, the fund will assist more than 1,500 SMEs operators nationwide over a three-year period (2013-2015), he said.

Spending of the Foreign Trade Promotion Fund must be approved by the cabinet, as imposed by a decision in 1988

The latest financial status of the fund is Bt4.2 billion, including capital and interest. Its annual interest is Bt100 million while the public and private sectors were granted loans of Bt2 billion each year.

The requested allocation of Bt400 million will be taken from the capital which will cut into its depleting reserves.

A working committee has been set up to find ways to increase the size of the fund while a move is being contemplated to seek the cabinet’s approval of a budget to inject into the fund.