Thai food exports to reach Bt600 billion
BANGKOK, Oct 11 2007 (TNA) - Thailand’s food exports are expected to increase by 7.8 per cent from last year to Bt600 billion this year and to further rise by 10 per cent next year due to the free trade area (FTA) agreements and an increased demand for products as a result of global warming, according to industry executives.
Yuthasak Supasorn, director of the National Food Institute of Thailand, said the country’s food exports totaled Bt395 billion in value in the first 8 months of this year, up 9.7 per cent from the previous year.
Products that enjoyed export growth include rice, sugar, cassava, and fresh vegetables, while those which declined are processed tuna fish and canned pineapple.
He said that food exports had increased since the economies of Thailand’s trading partners and the global economy continued to expand satisfactorily.
However, the stronger baht, economic slowdown in the United States, raw material shortage, higher production cost, and trade barriers had affected the competitiveness of Thailand’s food industry.
He said that food exports in the fourth quarter are projected to recover after a continued slowdown with a total value of Bt156 billion, up 3.8 per cent, because the baht had begun to move in a more stable manner.
So, it would bring up the expected value of the food exports for the whole year to Bt600 billion, up 7.8 per cent from the year before.
Mr. Yuthasak said that food imports, particularly of raw materials such as frozen tuna and soybean, had expanded more slowly in the first 8 months of this year since the world market price had increased and exports of the products had begun to slow down.
Likewise with imported luxury goods, which declined because the local economy had not yet recovered.
Paiboon Phonsuwanna, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said food export growth of 8 per cent is considered successful and the expected value increase to Bt600 billion will meet the projected target.
He forecast tat next year’s food exports will grow 10 per cent because Thailand had made FTA pacts with many countries and global warming had pushed up the demand for farm and food products from Thailand.