Thailand may lose GSP if per capita income rises

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BANGKOK, 14 August 2011 – The Department of Foreign Trade has warned that the government’s policy to increase the income rates throughout the country might cause the country to lose certain benefits in international trade. 

According to Surasak Riangkrua, Deputy Director General of the Department of Foreign Trade, Thailand may have more difficulty trading with European countries if Thai people’ s incomes are adjusted as the government has promised.

Mr. Surasak explained that if the minimum wage had been raised to 300 THB per day and the salary of employees holding a bachelor degree had been increased to 15,000 THB a month, the country’s per capita income had to be adjusted upwards accordingly. As a result, there is a possibility that the country would soon lose the Generalized System of Preferences or GSP extended by developed countries. The country’s rights to exemption of tariff will end in December 2013.

As European countries and the U.S. are having debt problems, Thailand may risk losing the chance of having the GSP renewed.

To keep their customer base in the European and the U.S. markets, Surasak suggested that Thai operators would need to improve their products. Quality should be the strength of Thai products, rather than prices.

Thailand’s export to the Europe generates more than 10.5 billion THB in revenue, about 10 per cent of the nation’s export.