Trade fairs going ahead despite concerns over political conflict

Economy March 01, 2014 00:00

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai


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The International Trade Promotion Department plans no changes in the schedule for upcoming international trade fairs, although the political unrest has caused some worries among traders.

The "Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair" (BIFF & BIL) will take place from March 12-16 on schedule at Challenger Hall, Muang Thong Thani. The "Bangkok International Gift Fair and Bangkok International Houseware Fair" (BIG & BIH) will go ahead in April, while "Thaifex", an international showcase of the food industry, will be held in May.

"The department will keep on the same schedule to ensure that the trading sector is not affected by the political unrest," said director-general Nuntawan Sakuntanaga. "The department has cooperated with traders that have tried to assure Thailand’s trading partners that [their] trading sectors will not be harmed by the political situation. Maintaining the trade fairs as scheduled is one of the strategies to maintain foreign traders’ confidence."

She said the agency was strongly confident that BIFF & BIL would be another grand international trade fair in Asean and help Thailand stand out as a hub of the region’s fashion and leather industries.

Exhibitors from Thailand and foreign countries have confirmed their participation in more than 700 booths. The agency is now implementing plans to reach groups of buyers directly, expecting to draw more than 6,000 visitors, with onsite orders totalling no less than Bt1 billion.

She said the export of fashion goods and leather goods was expected to grow this year by about 5 per cent. At the fair, producers and exhibitors will highlight creativity with eco-friendly products and use of environmentally friendly raw materials.

Nuntawan said Thailand’s fashion and related industries such as leather goods, footwear, textiles and garments were highly regarded internationally as of good quality and creative design. BIFF & BIL is a must to show new products to traders and emphasise Thailand’s stance as a hub of Asean’s fashion-goods industry.

Last year, Thailand’s fashion and leather industries were valued at US$9.22 billion (Bt301 billion). Exports of fabrics and yarns were valued at $2.52 billion, up by 9.85 per cent over 2012, while garment exports dropped by 2.58 per cent to $2.87 billion.

Sukij Kongpiyacharn, president of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association, said that despite the impact of a sluggish global economy last year, garment exports declined only slightly at just over 2 per cent, better than the previously expected decline of 5 per cent.

With clearer signs of a global economic recovery, shipment of garments is expected to grow by 5 per cent this year.

He said that although the political unrest had caused some questions among foreign buyers, Thai producers and traders were trying hard to maintain quality production and on-time delivery.