The Commerce Ministry is committed to helping Thailand become one of the leading exporters for innovative farm products and services under a 20-year strategic plan.
Somkiat Triratpan, director of the ministry’s Office of Trade Policy and Strategy, said the strategic plan will concentrate on upgrading Thai entrepreneurs, streamlining laws and regulations and strengthening consumer and farm networks.
“By 2036, we’re eager to upgrade the competitiveness and capability of Thai farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers alike,” he said. “By then, Thailand should be capable of producing more innovative farm products and food.”
Approved by the cabinet last week, the ministry’s long-term strategy will be divided into four phases, with the first phase (2017 to 2021) focusing on legal reforms to facilitate trade and the second phase (2022 to 2026) on improving local entrepreneurs so that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become Asean’s leading traders. The third phase (2027 to 2031) calls for raising the potential of local entrepreneurs to promote global trade, while the fourth phase will focus on allowing local SMEs to become world leaders in innovative farm products and services.
In the short term, a development center for innovative farm products will be set up.
Patent and trademark registration processes need to be accelerated and facilitated, while attempts to tackle intellectual-property (IP) piracy should be stepped up to have Thailand removed next year from the US’s Priority Watch List for IP, Somkiat said. The government should support Thai entrepreneurs in developing their own IP and innovative products, then marketing them, he said.
The ministry’s role needs to be changed from a regulator to a trade facilitator, while the implementation of the National Single Window, an electronic system facilitating the import and export procedures of 36 state agencies, should be fast-tracked, Somkiat said.
The ministry will be more engaged in developing young, smart farmers who can handle not only production, but also distribution and marketing in the future, he said.
Expanding community markets and developing trading villages and farm outlets that will function as new distribution channels for farmers are also responsibilities for the ministry, Somkiat added.
“By 2031, the ministry hopes the role of consumer networks will be strengthened to give them higher bargaining power with traders,” he said. “With the anticipated proliferation of online shopping and e-commerce, we expect consumers to be well-informed.”
The long-term goal is for the ministry to work closer with its counterparts in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam to tackle trade and investment obstacles and upgrade the competitiveness of regional producers, Somkiat added.