Thai shrimp exporters protest strong baht

By

Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
June 10, 2009

 Thai shrimp exporters are urging the Thai government to step in and weaken the baht against the U.S. dollar.

Over the past few months, the exchange rate has strengthened from THB 35.5 per 1 USD to around THB 33.5 per 1 USD, which is hindering the flow of Thai seafood exports to the United States.

To compensate for the strong baht, Thai exporters have been force to reduce their shrimp prices by THB 15 per kilogram.

"We are calling on the government to help manage the baht to stay at about 36 baht per dollar to make our products comparatively competitive," said Panisuan Jamnarnwej, president of the Thai Frozen Food Association (TFFA). "Should the baht strengthen further to average 33 baht [per dollar], we believe shrimp processing [workers] will stage a rally against the government."

Jamnarnwej also urged the Thai government to help shrimp producers offset costs with low or interest-free loans, mortgage subsidies and lower electricity prices.

The TFFA and The Internal Trade Department have developed a policy that keeps local shrimp prices at a fixed level, but the continued strength of the baht is of greater concern to shrimp exporters.

Thailand exported more than 182 million kilograms of shrimp to the United States last year, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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