Thai Commerce Official Cautiously Optimistic About Economy


Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
February 4, 2009

Somkiat Anura, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s fisheries division, told SeafoodSource yesterday that he’s cautiously optimistic about the coming months. He said Thailand should be able to ride out the current global economic slump by turning its attention to less-expensive seafood products to suit the market’s tastes.

Tighter export restrictions, he explained, were just as responsible as the economic slump for last year’s seafood production shortfall from a target of 3 million metric tons to 2.8 million metric tons.

In all, Somkiat felt 2009 would be one of balancing the variety of seafood exports without hindering the continued growth of Thailand’s seafood industry. Other issues Thailand is addressing are implementing international food-safety requirements and making sure fisheries and processors meet the standards of the United States, European Union and Australia.

The United States remains Thailand’s largest seafood importer, followed in order by Japan, the EU and Australia.

Somkiat touched on the need for the Thai government to enact education programs to help seafood processors gain greater knowledge about the health and food-safety issues affecting the industry.

In general, Somkiat was quite upbeat about the seafood industry’s future and said Thailand would be in a good position a year from now.

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