Some members of the European Union (EU) have started to slow down placing purchase orders for goods from Thailand, one week after the United States downgraded this country to Tier 3 from Tier 2 in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, said a deputy chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
The EU has also decided to halt all official visits to the kingdom and suspend the signing of a cooperation accord after last month’s military takeover.
Gen Chatchai Sirikalya, assistant army chief and deputy chief of NCPO supervising economic affairs, said the US downgrade of Thailand to the lowest levels, accusing Thailand of allowing human trafficking, slavery and human rights abuses in the kingdom would “slightly affect Thailand’s exports.”
Thai goods were still in demand by foreign countries, he said, adding that he was optimistic that the situation should return to normal after senior Thai officials travel to the US and the EU to explain the situation to importers from those countries and invite them to inspect operations in the kingdom.
Gen Chatchai on Thursday presided over a meeting with senior officials of the Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Labour, Agriculture and Cooperatives ministries, and industrial operators especially those in the fishery sector.
A major issue which was discussed at the meeting was on the possible negative impact after Washington downgraded Thailand.
It was agreed that high ranking officials from the Commerce, Foreign Affairs and Labour ministries should be sent to the US and the EU to explain to importers as well as inviting them to inspect the general situation in Thailand in order to restore their confidence.
Meanwhile, Somsak Praneetatyasai, president of Thai Shrimp Association, said his association wanted the public sector to speed up explaining to the US government and consumers that the Thai fishing industry neither employed illegal migrant workers nor engaged in human trafficking.