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Better China links needed

Bangkok Post

Better China links needed

16 July 2005

Local businesses are being urged to set up distribution centres in China to take better advantage of the country’s free trade area (FTA) pact with Thailand.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who met yesterday with Thai trade officials from 53 countries, Thailand had lost opportunities as Thai exporters could not fully capitalise on the FTA for fruits and vegetables that took effect in October 2003.

He said distribution centres for Thai fruits and vegetables should be set up in all provinces throughout China of possible.

Turning to the country’s rising trade deficit Dr Somkid said he would meet local importers next week to seek their voluntary co-operation in reporting purchase orders and inventories, as well as put on hold ’’unnecessary’’ imports.

However, he insisted the co-operation would be voluntary and not mandatory.

He said that in the worst-case scenario, he expected imports this year would expand by 27.6% to US$121.196 billion, with exports growing 20% to $117.19 billion, for a trade deficit of $4 billion.

However, he said Thailand might be able to cap the deficit at just $1.41 billion, if imports could be held to $118.607 billion.