Third-largest seafood exporter in the world, Thailand’s struggle with bonded labour is testing Trump’s patience. The sanctions aim to address “longstanding worker rights issues in the seafood and shipping industries,” according to the Office of the US Trade Representative.
The sanctions will remove Thailand’s seafood trade from Generalized System of Preferences, a list of countries and imports that receive reduced or waived tariffs. Thailand is currently unsure how to respond to the sanctions. “I need more time to assess the impact as we just got the list of affected products,” said Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director general of the Commerce Ministry’s trade policy and strategy office.
It’s doubtless that this will deal a blow to Thailand’s economy but the question is how significant of a dent it will make. The Kingdom is far more reliant on its trade of electronic equipment, such as office machine parts ($19.8B), integrated circuits ($12B), delivery trucks ($9.4B), cars ($8.17B) and broadcasting equipment ($6.63B).
Processed seafood accounts for less than 1.5% of its overall export revenue despite the fact that Thailand is the third-largest seafood exporter. Total annual export revenue generated by foodstuffs amounts to around $14.5B.
In terms of imports, Thailand is hoarding gold, ranking 7th for gold imports globally. Gold accounts for 6.6% of the Kingdom’s import expenditure but only 1.7% of its exports. Thailand isn’t processing the gold so it seems that its demand is based on trade speculation.
The sanctions will come into effect in 6 months.
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