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BOT gives latest Ex-Im figures

Thailand wins prawn concessions from EU

BOT gives latest Ex-Im figures

Economy still looking healthy says report card

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) Northern Office announced that the northern economic situation in October 2004 was improving at a slightly slower rate than in September, but exports have continued to grow, while imports have fallen in some areas.

Year on year figures show exports increased by 7.9 percent, or USD 183.1 million, compared to the same period last year. Exports through the northern industrial region increased by only 2.5 percent, since some factories are in the process of changing their out-of-date production lines to more modern ones, but worryingly, some have moved their production base lines to China.

Export merchandise includes electrical circuit boards, electronics, optical equipment and medical devices which were sent to Singapore, USA and China. Gross exports to Japan, Hong Kong, and Israel, however, have dropped.

Export revenue through Chiang Mai International Airport fell 5 percent, but cross-border traffic increased by almost 45 percent. Exports to Burma soared 53 percent despite the leadership coup, and to Laos by 45 percent, with vehicles and construction equipment being the mainstay. Exports to the south of China grew almost 18 percent, with Para rubber being the principal export to that region.

Imports from China were down almost 21.5 percent, but imports from Burma and Laos were both up, covering fish, lignite and wooden products.

The trade surplus through the northern region in October 2004 was USD 74.4 million, compared to the USD 56.6 million surplus in the same period last year.

Thailand wins prawn concessions from EU

Thailand appears to have won its battle with the European Union (EU) on the restoration of preferential import tariffs on Thai prawns, following months of heated discussions. The victory is in large part thanks to Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, which has made the restoration of generalized system of preferences (GSP) status on Thai prawns a condition of its purchase of European Airbus jets for its new fleet.

Government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said that negotiations over the past weeks had won over European ministers. The decision will now be forwarded to the European Commission for official endorsement. Further negotiations will take place on the purchase of Airbus planes, as well as on the export of fresh Thai chicken to the EU.

Thai prawn farmers have launched heavy protests against the EUís decision to revoke Thailandís GSP status in 2000, which caused a devastating drop in Thailandís share of the EU prawn market. Prawn imports from most other countries in the region are already covered by GSP rules. (TNA)