PM asks economic ministers for urgent remedies to support exports

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BANGKOK, Aug 22 – Thailand’s export-concerned government agencies and functionaries are under pressure from the prime minister to produce tangible results for the currently declining sector.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong Puangrach said today the prime minister urgently asked the economic ministers’ meeting for urgent remedies for flagging exports. PM Yingluck also asked for new markets to support Thai exports.

Exports provide Thailand’s main revenue and drive the economy, so the government will provide tax exemptions to help the private sector by reducing import tariffs for raw materials in the food and jewellery sectors, value added taxes for uncut and imported gemstones, and duties for imported auto parts.

Thailand’s four main types of goods supporting exports are textiles and garments, leather, jewellery, and food, with frozen chicken spotlighted by the premier following the European Union green light to import Thai chicken, and the impact on chicken from the eurozone debt crisis.

Mr Yanyong said potential new markets being considered include China, India, and Russia.

For the past six months, most Thai entrepreneurs, already affected by last year’s flood, cannot produce in sufficient volume needed for exports despite ready markets. The government must help support their higher production capacity for both the domestic and international markets.

The Commerce Ministry reported to the premier that the government must speed up budget disbursement for further investments, which are currently slow, to help drive the economy.

While this year’s export target was set at 15 per cent, Mr Yanyong said the goal is too high and cannot be reached.

But he believes Thailand’s exports will reach US$20 billion in September. If exports continue to grow and reach US$22 billion in October, growth could reach 9 per cent as previously targeted by Deputy Minister/Finance Minister Kittirat Na-Ranong.

Meanwhile, Somkid Jatusripitak, former deputy prime minister/finance minister said Wednesday in a speech on ‘Building Thailand’s prosperity in the next decade’ that Thailand must maintain its domestic economy by supporting consumption which depends less on exports, which will be continously weaker in the next ten years due to the world economic slowdown.

In the coming decades, Thailand must set a goal and an export direction, he said, indicating which clusters of industrial goods will be driving the country’s economy along with creating new innovation and technology in Thai products for better competitiveness.