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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  May 2011

Thai exports hit trade barriers

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This year 24 types of Thai exports have run into non-tariff barriers that have obstructed the country's trade growth, according to the Foreign Trade Department.

"The non-tariff measures have increased rapidly each year," said Surasak Riangkrul, deputy director-general of the department.

"During the first three months of the year, 24 items of Thai goods faced non-tariff barriers, which are directed mainly at concentrated chemical residues on agricultural products and foods," he said.

Many countries plan to impose more stringent rules on imported products, particularly foods and farm goods, to ensure consumer safety amid rising trade liberalisation, he said. Local exporters should be more aware of such measures as they could face difficulties in marketing their goods to certain countries.

For example, the US Food Safety Modernisation Act covers every food item except pork, beef, chicken and eggs.

The US Food and Drug Administration will have full authority to suspend production if it finds any food items that cause health problems or harm consumers.

Canada has recently drawn up tougher rules for aquaculture sanitary standards, importers, veterinarians and laboratories.

The European Union mandates strict inspection of pesticides and chemical residues on plants and products, resulting in the suspension of 16 kinds of vegetable imports from Thailand.

Hong Kong is considering an import regulation for eggs. Traders must employ a tractability system and guarantee that the sources of the eggs are located away from areas that have experienced bird-flu outbreaks.

Among all importers, countries in the EU, especially Britain and Italy, seem to have the harshest non-tariff barriers.

Many products are subject to labeling for origin.

Not only have foreign governments put up high import hurdles, the private sector has also created its own import rules to protect their domestic markets, Surasak said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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