Thai plans to push exports to the U.S. after Washington defers tariff hike

Pimchanok Wonkhorporn. Photo by The Nation. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


BANGKOK, Aug 16, 2019, The Nation. The Commerce Ministry plans to push Thai exports to the United States after the US Trade Representative (USTR) on Tuesday (August 13) postponed the proposed hike in tariffs on several imports from China, reported The Nation.

Pimchanok Wonkhorporn, director of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, revealed that the USTR planned to raise tariffs in two phases. The first phase will start on September 1, covering approximately 3,000 product groups such as foods, beverages, tobacco, printed media, clothes, footwear, jewellery and toys. The second phase will start on December 15, covering approximately 500 product groups such as IT and electrical appliances, mobile phones and video games.

“This postponement is a good sign,” she said. “It is a hint that the US and China may finally reconcile, and it also gives Thailand’s products a chance to penetrate US markets as substitutions for products from China when the tariff hikes take effect.”

The director further explained that potential Thai products for exports included foods, processed agricultural products, seasoning, beverages, fashion apparel and home appliances.

Pimchanok also added that on Wednesday (August 14), the ministry and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce (JSCC) had agreed to appoint a War Room task force to specifically monitor the US-China trade situation. Chaired by the permanent secretary at the Commerce Ministry, the War Room will study the impact on Thailand of tax policies used by both countries, and formulate preventive and corrective measures to support and promote the import and export sectors.

“Apart from the US and China, the ministry is also planning to boost exports of Thai products to other potential markets in the last quarter of the year, such as India, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. We have already tasked the Department of International Trade Promotion to draft export promotion measures along with other trade promotion activities,” she said.

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