THE Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) today (Aug. 16) called for help as Chinese products are now flooding in from every direction with Thai entrepreneurs unable to compete anymore, Matichon newspaper said.
Mr. Kriangkrai Thiennukul, FTI’s president, said 20 industrial groups out of a total of 45 have been severely impacted by the heavy flow of Chinese products into Thailand from only five to six groups previously hit.
“We can’t fight them anymore. It happened so fast, like a disaster – a flood or forest fire – even though everyone had prepared but there was no time to deal with it, Chinese products are coming in like a typhoon,” he said.
“Short term we cannot cope and there is only one thing to do and that is to firmly shut the house, set up a system to prevent foreign goods from easily coming in through the door and windows.”
This occurred after intervention led to a drop in Chinese products reaching US and Europe with the tide of these products then hitting Asia, Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in particular.
As a result, Thailand’s exports to Asean countries have decreased significantly amid competition posed by cheaper Chinese products, he said.
However the overseas impact is not as heavy as what is felt within the country with the Chinese products heavily competing against local products in an already weak domestic market.
“The impact on SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is very high, especially now that transportation is very convenient, people ordering one or two items online conveniently get them,” he said.
While there are concerns that taking serious steps to block Chinese products, with China being a main trading partner of Thailand, would affect the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Kriangkrai pointed out that the two are not related with this depending on how seriously the government implements these steps.
Moreover it is for the Foreign Ministry to deal with any effect on international relations by communicating effectively and working on building an understanding as it is the duty of every country to protect its citizens and uphold their own interests.
Kriangkrai also pointed to India which had wisely chosen to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as it had assessed that opening the country would be a disadvantage with Indian SMEs unable to compete against stronger players especially from China. The aim being to strengthen its SMEs first before considering any such steps.
Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri. Photo: Top photo: NNT, Front Page photo: Getty Images and published by Matichon