The Department for International Trade Promotion (DITP) has accelerated its collaboration with government agencies and private enterprise to solve labour problems, such as the fishing industry's alleged use of illegal crewmen.
Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general to the department, said it had met with executives of Charoen Pokphand Foods, which The Guardian newspaper had accused in an article of using illegal labour.
The company denied the claim, saying it had carefully selected its sources of raw materials and had no use for illegal workers. It and other food firms had stringent rules against the employment of children, slaves, and other illegal labour.
To improve foreign understanding, the department had ordered Thai trade representatives in the US and European Union to explain to importers that Thai fisheries did not employ illegal workers. They were also highly concerned about the impact of their activities on the environment and society.
To increase confidence, the department had issued a certificate to producers who employ labourers in accordance with international standards. It also is working on “fair trade” activities, by cooperating with international labour organisations such as the FLO and WFTO to educate Thai industries on employment practices
The government has allocated a budget of Bt190 million to solve human labour problems and to increase protection of the labour force. Moreover, the Thai private sector and government agencies, as well as countries in the Mekong River region have signed a memorandum of understanding to organise a campaign against the use of illegal labour.