The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) has encouraged the government to come up with a clear export policy after having focused mainly on domestic consumption.
TNSC Chairman Paiboon Pornsuwanna estimated that Thai exports in 2012 would face hardship as a consequence of last year’s inundation combined with the global economic crisis. He urged the government to provide its full support to the export sector since previous governments had often cut down on the sector’s budget in order to promote internal consumption.
He stated that exports account for 70% of Thailand’s GDP. Therefore, the country’s economy would surely be impacted if exports remained stagnant.
It is predicted that this year’s total export value will grow by 12% while the export volume will increase by 9.7%. Mr. Paiboon commented that if the government achieved its investment goals, Thailand would see a 4.5% growth in its economy.
However, the global economy is still fragile. Its growth rate remains low and the capital market is tight. Meanwhile, the European economy would go into a recession during the last quarter of the year. If the crisis spreads out, Thailand’s GDP growth would be limited to only 2-3%.
Export figures are forecast to be shrinking in 4-5 industries, including jewellery, which has been impacted by the volatility of gold price in the global market. Mr. Paiboon proposed that the new cabinet lower logistic capitals and customs barriers to bring down production costs to give Thailand an edge in the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community or AEC, where customs tariffs stand at zero.
Meanwhile, the international freight rate is estimated to remain stable, except for the European route which has seen a falling trend since the third quarter of 2010 due to the economic crisis. The low import-export figure to Europe has prompted Thai shipping businesses to reduce their freight price as a marketing strategy.