Thailand Records Lowest Exports in Years Due to Coronavirus

Workers disinfect a temple in Bangkok amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 26, 2020.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday released a report, indicating that Thai exports in May had shown the lowest level in four years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The export value in May was recorded at 16.28 billion U.S. dollars, down by 22.50 percent year-on-year, and the import value was at 13.58 billion U.S. dollars, down by 34.41 percent,” said Pimchanok Vonkorpon, director-general of the commerce ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO).

The TPSO report said that the demand and supply market shrank as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Production in Thailand had plunged because of worldwide lockdowns,” Pimchanok said, adding that the pandemic is on a global scale and that she is unable to predict as to when the pandemic will subside.

However, exports of farm products and foods remained promising as they grew by 22 percent, up from 15 percent in the same period last year, the report said.

Pimchanok said that Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit had instructed that this particular sector of farm export must be protected.

Overall Thai export during January to May 2020 totaled 97.899 billion U.S. dollars, down 3.71 percent year on year, while import was at 88.808 billion U.S. dollars, falling 11.64 percent year on year, leaving a trade surplus of 9.0906 billion U.S. dollars for the first five months, the TPSO report said.

Medical Tourism Launched

Thailand will carry out a tourist project called the Medical and Wellness Resort of the World for visiting foreigners, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said.

The Medical and Wellness Resort of the World project will welcome foreigners under the so-called Travel Bubble campaign, which is yet to be launched between Thailand and several other countries including China, Japan and South Korea.

They may come to Thailand to undergo medical treatments for illnesses, which will be entirely irrelevant to COVID-19, or to restore their health and wellness, Yuthasak said.

Under the Travel Bubble campaign, foreign tourists will not undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival though they will have to carry a medical certificate to be issued in their home country within the last 72 hours to assure they not be infected with the coronavirus.

The TAT governor said the Medical and Wellness Resort of the World project will be initially located in the famous beach resort cities of Phuket, Krabi and Hua Hin where medical facilities and rehabilitation centers are readily prepared.

Apart from such medical visitors, Thailand plans to welcome foreign businesspersons or investors, who may spend business trips in the country only for a short period of time without the need for mandatory quarantine.