Thailand likely to gain from US tariffs on PRC imports

29 May '19
3 min read

Thailand is likely to gain more than lose if the United States imposes tariffs of up to 25 per cent on an additional list of Chinese imports worth $300 billion, says a Thai commerce ministry study. If US import tariffs are raised, Thailand is expected to gain from raised exports to the United States worth $200 million-$1 billion, said a top Thai official.

Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said a fresh round of US tariff hikes on Chinese goods would mostly cover daily-use products, food, utensils, garments, shoes and ornaments, which are not a part of the supply chain of Chinese exports to the United States. US consumers themselves will be hard hit, she said.

Pimchanok said Thailand will have more opportunity to export 725 items to the United States, including food and seasonings like herbs, sunflower oil, coconut oil, peanuts, pine nuts, sugar cane, sugar, fruit juice, ginger, green tea, garment and textiles, shoes, sports components, ornaments (especially pearls and watches), ceramics and glass, according to a leading Bangkok daily.

Global trade is volatile and measures to boost Thai exports are needed in short order, she said.

She said the commerce ministry plans to meet representatives from more than 20 industrial sectors on May 29 to discuss export strategies to cope with the deepening US-China trade war and adjust export plans. Results of the meeting will be submitted to the International Economic Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on June 11.

Thailand's shipments to the US market rose continuously between 2016 and 2018, fetching $24.5 billion in 2016, $26.5 billion in 2017 and $26.6 billion in 2018. For the first three months of this year, exports to the United States rose 32 per cent year on year from the same quarter of last year to $8.78 billion.

The top five export products were machines, electric appliances, rubber, tractors and pearls.

Earlier, the commerce ministry study reported that Thailand lost an estimated $780 million worth of export revenue from the trade spat in the 12 months ended March 31.

Shipments to the United States fell by $316.5 million during the period, mainly from the toll on solar cells, washing machines, steel products and aluminium.

Lower shipments were offset by higher exports to the United States of cars and parts, garments, jewellery and ornaments, computer parts and electrical circuits, electric appliances, and processed food, considered substitutes for Chinese products. These shipments totalled $637 million in the period. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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