Thailand aims for top ASEAN agricultural exporter with new FTAs

A Government of Thailand spokesperson revealed plans to enhance economic cooperation and attract foreign trade and investment, which could propel the Thai nation to the top of the agricultural export rankings in ASEAN through the implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA).

The spokesperson for the Thai Prime Minister’s Office, Chai Watcharong, disclosed Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin’s determination to foster economic collaboration between nations. By establishing tangible FTAs, the government aims to attract foreign trade and investment, pursue aggressive commerce, and expand the market for Thai agricultural products abroad.

Maximizing the potential of FTAs could significantly boost trade and investment figures, giving Thailand a competitive edge in the global market. Thailand currently ranks first in ASEAN for agricultural exports and seventh worldwide, while its processed agricultural products stand third in ASEAN and eleventh globally.

Chai mentioned that in 2024, the export situation for Thai agricultural and processed agricultural products to FTA partner countries, which are key markets for Thailand, showed a healthy expansion. Agricultural exports to FTA partners grew by 4%, amounting to 19,563 million US dollars, accounting for 73% of total agricultural exports.

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Processed agricultural exports to FTA partners were valued at 15,074 million US dollars, with an increase of 2%, representing a 67.3% share of total processed agricultural exports. The markets with significant trade growth included China, with an 11% increase accounting for approximately 42% of Thailand’s agricultural and processed agricultural exports, followed by the ASEAN market, which expanded by 5%.

Chai pointed out that key agricultural and processed agricultural products showing promising export growth to FTA markets included rice, which saw a 92% increase in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, followed by coffee with 43% growth in Cambodia, Japan, and China, with fresh, chilled, frozen, and dried fruits expanding by 23% in China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Costs, productivity, income

The government is in the process of outlining a plan to help reduce costs, increase productivity, and triple the income for Thai farmers. On February 14, Thai trade representatives, executives from the Ministry of Agriculture, and Huawei (Thailand) executives laid out a plan to use innovation to lower electricity costs for farmers.

This includes the adoption of clean energy for large agricultural projects, developing agricultural and trade databases to facilitate market access and production planning, and creating the Kaset Phirun Raj application as a from farm to table commerce channel for farmers.

The prime minister supports initiatives to fully leverage the benefits of FTAs, confident in the expansion of trade and the attraction of investment. He advocates for the export of Thailand’s distinctive, high-potential agricultural and processed agricultural products to the global market.

Incorporating innovation and marketing strategies, both online and on the ground, will facilitate convenience, add value, and create opportunities for a better quality of life for Thai farmers and entrepreneurs, reported KhaoSod.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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