ATOP official says full-year exports may eke out marginal growth of 0.3 percent, boosted by recovering shipments to traditional markets.
According to Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn, a recent joint meeting of Thai trade ministers and commercial counselors found agreement that this year’s exports are unlikely to slip into contraction as feared.
Shipments to key markets, such as China, the US, Australia and the Middle East, are expected to fare better in the second half.
Trade officials have set export- growth targets of 1 percent for China, 1 percent for the US, 5 percent for Australia and 2.4 percent for the Middle East.
Export value in 2015 totaled $214 billion, a third straight yearly decline.
Shipments fell by 0.3 percent in 2013 and 0.4 percent in 2014, against rises of 2.9 percent in 2012, 15.2 percent in 2011 and 26.8 percent in 2010.
Imports totaled $203 billion in 2015, down 11 percent, giving Thailand a trade surplus of $11.7 billion.
For the first seven months of this year, customs-cleared exports fell by 2.3 percent to $122.18 billion.
Apiradi said exports are expected to grow by 3 percent next year, as the global economy recovers.
The Commerce Ministry forecasts export growth for key markets in 2017, such as Asean (2.5 percent); East Asia, including China (3 percent); the US (3 percent); Japan (1 percent); the European Union (1 percent); Hong Kong (2 percent); and the Russian Commonwealth (12.4 percent).
Apiradi said the ministry is committed next year to ramping up shipments of innovative and high-tech products while promoting services, such as Thai restaurants.
Construction, health and beauty services, digital content and animation, as well as film shoots, are other areas of next year’s focus.
More strategic partnerships with trading partners will be underlined to boost trade and investment, while online shopping will be promoted, particularly via the ministry’s online marketplace at Thaitrade.com.
Developed five years ago, Thaitrade.com was the country’s first official business-to-business e-marketplace. The web site features more than 200,000 products.
Late last month the Commerce Ministry launched Thaitrade.com Sook (small order OK), a business-to-consumer extension from Thaitrade.com, which is a business-to-business online platform.
The ministry also plans to push for promoting innovation-based and creativity-based start-ups, Apiradi said.
Image credits: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg