Over the past decade, bilateral trade between Thailand and South Africa has demonstrated steady growth. In 2011, combined trade between the countries reached an all time high of USD 3.5 billion - a significant increase over the USD 2.2 billion of 2010.
Dr. Chakarin Komolsiri, Minister Commercial, Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy, South Africa
South East Asia's second largest economy is looking to strengthen and grow its trade relations with South Africa, with the announcement of the Thailand Trade Show, which will take place from 21-23 June 2012 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
The trade show is the 14th of its kind to be hosted by Thailand in South Africa's major provinces over the past 11 years, and is organised by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government. The success of these trade shows and the resulting bilateral trade relationships developed over the past decade are evident in the significant growth in trade between the countries.
Dr. Chakarin Komolsiri, the head of the office of commercial affairs at the Royal Thai Embassy in South Africa, comments: "Thailand and South Africa are strategic partners and key players in our respective regional economies. In 2011, Thailand's exports to South Africa increased by 24% and South African exports to Thailand increased by 160% over 2010. This trend continues into 2012, when Thailand's exports to South Africa increased by 27% and South African exports to Thailand by 276% in the period January to February 2012, as compared to the same period in 2011.
"Thailand is South Africa's 12th largest trading partner, while South Africa is Thailand's 34th largest trading partner and our largest trading partner in Africa. We have always regarded South Africa as a strategic trading partner. Its importance in SADC and SACU is well recognised and the country is both the gateway to Southern Africa and an important market for Thailand, and we remain committed to further strengthening trade with South Africa and the African continent and to growing sustainable long-term relationships. Thailand has similarly established itself as the gateway to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which includes 10 countries in the region and will in 2015 become a common economic zone, with 600 million people and a combined GDP of USD 1.1 trillion."
Via the Thailand Trade Show, Thailand hopes to reinforce its existing ties and create new relationships with buyers, traders, importers and re-exporters across a selection of several key trade sectors. The major trade sectors that will come under the spotlight include Automotive; Beauty, Health and Spa Products; Fashion Accessories and Home Décor; Food and Beverages; Household and Kitchenware Products; Pet Products; and Plastics. These sectors will be represented by some 50 exhibitors from Thailand
Trading with Thailand
Constant research and the use of advanced technology to produce quality export products to specification, on time and at a fair market price have enabled Thailand to maintain its competitiveness in world markets. In 2011 the top three importers of Thai exports were China, Japan and the Unites States, in that order. South Africa ranked 24th on this scale.
Dr Komolsiri adds: "Trading with Thailand has many advantages for businesses that are looking for reliable trade partners with quality products that are competitively priced. Thailand's Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) supports Thai exporters and their trade partners on many levels. Trading partners have the assurance of dealing with companies that have access to rich natural resources, a skilled workforce and who employ advanced technology in their manufacturing processes.
"Thai companies are renowned for their flexibility in responding to and finding ways to meet customers' needs, and for their well-integrated logistics systems that allow them to fulfil orders quickly and efficiently."
Thailand's DITP representatives will be at the Thailand Trade Show to assist buyers, importers and re-exporters with trade enquiries as well as sourcing appropriate Thai trading partners and facilitating partnerships and communication between the parties.
The Thailand Trade Show is open to members of the trade exclusively on Thursday 21 June, from 09:30 to 18:00 and open to both the trade and the public on Friday 22 June, from 09:30 to 18:00 and on Saturday 23 June from 09:30 to 16:00.
Members of the trade are invited to attend the show and explore Thailand's offerings, compare products and pricing, meet exporters face-to-face, network, obtain leads and source partners to help grow their business and participate in Thai cooking demonstrations.
Automotive: Thailand's OEM auto parts and accessories are in high demand the world over and no less so in South Africa, which imported USD 486.6 million of these goods in 2011, to make this the highest grossing of Thailand's export sectors to this country. Sophisticated, modern production plants and processes, and world-class product quality are what drive the success of Thailand's auto parts and accessories sector.
Beauty and Wellness: Thailand has a growing reputation as the 'beauty and wellness capital' of Asia. A reputation that owes as much to the Thai's natural affinity for this sector as it does to the country's rich biodiversity and natural resources, which provide a sustainable source of quality ingredients for beauty, health and pharmaceutical products. In addition to beauty, health and spa products, African buyers will have the opportunity to explore prospects with manufacturers of sophisticated beauty and slimming equipment and accessories for beauty salons and spas.
Fashion and Décor: This thriving sector has long been a leader in setting global fashion and manufacturing trends. At the Thailand Trade Show, several of Thailand's pre-eminent fashion accessories and home décor players will demonstrate the advanced construction of their products while introducing buyers to the latest styles and trends in this in-demand sector.
Food and Beverages: Quality, taste and sustainability are the watchwords in the competitive food and beverage industry and here again, Thailand's exporters consistently rise to the challenge. Thailand, through its "Kitchen to the world" campaign has become a world class producer of a wide variety of foodstuffs, both processed as well as ready to eat.
Thailand has for many years been the world's biggest exporter of rice. In 2011, Thailand's rice (cereal) exports to South Africa totalled USD 329 million, up 7% over 2010 and accounting for 15% of all trade between the countries.
While Thai rice is in high demand for its quality and taste, it is by no means all that the country's richly diverse food and beverage sector has to offer, as African buyers will soon discover at the forthcoming trade show. Some products must be tasted to be fully appreciated, so Thai master chefs will give daily cooking demonstrations at the show, giving buyers the opportunity to learn about Thai ingredients and cooking and to sample the delectable results.
Household and Kitchenware Products: Household and kitchenware products are another flourishing sector for Thailand and one that will be abundantly represented at the show. Manufacturers of air conditioning units, glassware, plasticware, stainless steel kitchen utensils and more, will display and discuss their products, manufacturing standards and trade opportunities with their African counterparts.
Plastics: Thailand's plastics sector is another significant player and last year accounted for USD 113.6 million of exports to South Africa. This sector will, in turn, demonstrate its ability to add value to local plastic manufacturers as well as supply the retail trade with moulded plastic products, as various companies demonstrate their chemicals for use in PVC manufacturing as well as plastic products ranging from ice coolers to playground equipment.
Pet Products: Pet shampoos, conditioners and soaps will be among the pet products displayed by Thai manufacturers.
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