Thailand currently observes 14 Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with 18 countries, with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) being its latest FTA and scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022. The Ministry of Commerce is now encouraging businesses to take advantage of the FTAs, and is looking to hold online business matching between Thai producers of processed food and agricultural goods and Chinese importers.
Deputy Minister of Commerce Sinit Lertkrai launched the DTN Business Plan Award 2021, which is being held for the third year running. Under the program, 20 businesses will be selected to enter a ‘boot camp’ that ingrains entrepreneurs with knowledge about making use of FTAs for exports. The boot camp also provides coaching on business plans, online and offline market penetration, and consumer behavior in the Chinese market.
The 5 best entrepreneurs will be entered into an online business matching activity with Chinese importers and will be able to send their products to sell on popular e-commerce platforms in China, supported by promotional livestreaming sessions. The ministry expects 300 million baht worth of orders to be placed for these products.
This year, the program is placing emphasis on supporting exporters of processed food and processed agricultural products, some of which are baked cashew nuts, fried banana chips and strips, dried aloe vera, and cricket protein. Part of the reasoning behind these choices of focus is the fact that Thailand was able to export about 10 billion USD worth of food, agricultural, and processed agricultural products to China in the first 10 months of this year – an expansion of 56.3% from the same period a year earlier.
Thai exports to markets supported by FTAs grew by 100-300% over the past 15 years, compared with just 40-50% for markets without FTA coverage. (NNT)