Commerce Ministry recruits TDRI to devise strategy to boost exports

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BANGKOK, 15 June 2012  – The Commerce Ministry has enlisted the help of the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) in devising a strategy aimed at boosting the exports of rice, fruit, textile and service.

Commercial Adviser to the Commerce Ministry Benjawan Rattanaprayoon has disclosed that the ministry has hired the TDRI to set out an import-boosting strategy for 4 major export products of Thailand, including rice, fruit, textile and service. The strategy will support both the marketing and export of Thai products in the state of high competition.

Ms. Benjawan pointed out that in 2011, Thailand exported around 10.6 million tons of rice, worth almost 200 billion baht. At the same time, 860,000 tons of fruits (longan and durian), worth 20 billion baht, were exported while the textile industry saw a total export value of 150 billion baht. Additionally, the service and tourism sector possesses the potential to become the tourism hub of the Southeast Asian region.

Meanwhile, TDRI Director Somchai Jittasuchon said that among the 4 key export products, rice poses as the most challenging item due to its low productivity per rai and contradictingly soaring price. The price of Thai rice is approximately 100 dollars/ton higher than that of its competitors, which has caused a continuous drop in Thai rice exports. On this occasion, Mr. Somchai suggested that old rice export markets must be maintained while the country attempts to crack new ones.

The TDRI has urged the government to reconsider its regulations and policies by reducing the impact from market intervention as well as providing alternative options to relieve the pressure on prices. Meanwhile, the government should recognize the importance of border trade and benefits which the country stands to gain from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) while setting a standard for Thai rice.