News Column

Thai shippers urge beef-up of standards

July 29, 2014

By Nop Tephaval, Bangkok Post, Thailand

July 29--Thai logistics service providers, particularly SMEs, need to work harder to meet international standards and keep the country competitive as a logistics hub, says the Thai National Shippers' Council.

Chairman Nopporn Thepsithar said while large companies have the capacity and incentives to adopt international standards, small and medium-sized enterprises tend to ignore them.

"Adopting international standards is an investment to differentiate your company from others, but SMEs are resistant to the standards due to cost," Mr Nopporn told a seminar on developing Thai logistics to support the Asean Economic Community.

He said SMEs must also remain aware of how the global economy would affect their business, enabling them to manage risk and adapt to change.

Mr Nopporn also urged Thailand to invest more in the service sector, saying trade and logistics mjust go hand in hand.

"Thailand has been good at manufacturing for global firms, but many firms still lack the skill to manage the demand chain and do not have direct access to markets," he said.

The World Bank ranked Thailand 35th out of 160 in its 2014 logistics performance index.

Surajitr Wanpae, director of the Thai Industrial Standards Institute Standards Bureau 4, said even as trade barriers ceased to be a problem, standards barriers would keep products out of the market.

Mr Nopporn told the seminar that exports contracted in the first five months of this year because the economies of Thailand's trading partners did not improve as expected.

But exports are likely to surge in the second half, especially to European countries, as customers increase orders before the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) ends.

Without a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, however, Thai exports to Europe will decline after the GSP expires.

"An FTA is crucial for Thai products to remain competitive," Mr Nopporn said.

"For example, without it Thai products could potentially cost 15% more than Vietnam's, so this will influence people as to where they put their investments."


(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)

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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)

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