Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tawee Piyawatana Spearheads Charge Against Cheap Imports to Shield Thai SMEs and Revitalize Economy

It was a gathering of minds at the latest meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) – a scene where the collaborative spirit of Thailand’s business leaders shimmers against the backdrop of looming economic challenges. Leading the discourse was none other than Tawee Piyawatana, the visionary vice president of the Federation of Thai Industries, who brought to light an issue that has long been the bane of the nation’s entrepreneurial heart – the influx of cheap, imported products.

The issue at hand was no trivial matter. Piyawatana painted a vivid picture of the current market landscape, where imported goods donned the guise of local products, bearing false labels, and, even more alarming, a significant proportion were counterfeit or of substandard quality. These clandestine imports were weaving their way into the market, flaunting price tags that undercut local offerings by a staggering 10-20%, thus putting Thailand’s hardworking small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at a severe disadvantage.

“What we seek,” Tawee declared with a note of urgency, “is for our government to weave a tighter net of regulations around these imported goods.” He envisioned a market where fair play reigned supreme, where foreign entities couldn’t exploit loopholes in free trade zones to the detriment of Thai businesses.

Among the strategic moves proposed by the JSCCIB was to revoke the VAT exemption for online transactions under 1,500 baht, a loophole that foreign online merchants have artfully dodged to sidestep tax obligations. The message was clear – it’s high time for an online marketplace that contributes fairly to the national coffer.

In a bold call to action, the committee championed the enforcement of the Anti-Circumvention law, a beacon of hope for Thai SMEs. It urged authorities, from customs to border control, to fortify their ranks and shield the market from the intrusion of unchecked imports. The committee envisaged a marketplace where only products meeting industrial standards could grace the shelves, ensuring a fair and quality-driven consumer experience.

But the visionaries of the JSCCIB did not stop there. They turned their sights towards the vast potential of Thailand’s tourism industry, a jewel in the nation’s economic crown. In a bid to disperse the love across the kingdom, they advocated for the promotion of secondary cities – hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Their aim? To sprinkle the magic of tourism far and wide, alleviating the pressure on popular destinations and painting a sustainable future for Thailand’s tourism.

With tourist safety paramount, the committee called upon the government to bolster security measures, thereby weaving a protective embrace around the visitors who choose Thailand as their escape.

The day’s discourse was not merely a meeting but a clarion call for robust action to bolster Thailand’s economy. Still shaking off the economic sluggishness, the JSCCIB’s eyes were firmly on the horizon, with anticipations of a GDP growth spurt of 2.8 to 3.3% in 2024. The assembly adjourned, leaving in its wake a roadmap for triumph over the trials facing the nation’s commerce and industry.

Indeed, as the sun set over the bustling streets of Bangkok, the resolve of Thailand’s business leaders stood as a testament to their commitment to not just navigate but conquer the challenges ahead. The path forward was set with determination, a path that promised to reinvigorate Thailand’s economic landscape and secure a future where every SME could stand tall and proud in the global marketplace.


  1. BangkokInsider February 9, 2024

    Tawee Piyawatana’s move is ambitious but highly necessary. Protecting Thai SMEs against the flood of cheap imports will not only preserve the integrity of our market but also encourage homegrown entrepreneurship. It’s time we prioritize local businesses over global giants.

    • GlobalTradeAdvocate February 9, 2024

      Isn’t this approach too protectionist though? In the era of globalization, shouldn’t Thailand be promoting open markets rather than closing off? This might lead to retaliation from trade partners, harming more than helping.

      • BangkokInsider February 9, 2024

        It’s not about closing off but creating a fair playing field. Without regulations, SMEs stand no chance against underpriced imports which are often of lower quality. It’s about sustainability and fostering a healthy economic ecosystem.

      • Econ101 February 9, 2024

        Exactly, protectionism can work in the short term but might stifle innovation in the long run. Competitive pressures are what drive businesses to improve. We need a balance.

    • SMEChampion February 9, 2024

      This is a fight for survival for many local businesses. I’ve seen firsthand how cheap imports wreak havoc on small ventures. It’s time the government stood up for the little guy.

  2. GreenTraveler February 9, 2024

    Focusing on tourism and promoting secondary cities is a brilliant move! Not only does it relieve overcrowded tourist spots but also ensures economic benefits reach more remote areas. Sustainability should be the keyword in every development plan.

    • PracticalSkeptic February 9, 2024

      While I support sustainable tourism, I doubt the effectiveness of ‘promoting secondary cities.’ Tourists flock to popular destinations for a reason. Can these secondary cities really compete or will this just be wasted effort?

      • LocalYokel February 9, 2024

        You’d be surprised at the gems hidden in our country. With the right marketing and infrastructure, these places can definitely draw in crowds looking for authentic experiences.

    • HarmonySeeker February 9, 2024

      Promotion should go hand in hand with preservation. I hope they plan on enforcing measures to protect these ‘hidden gems’ from becoming overcommercialized.

  3. TaxPayer February 9, 2024

    Revoking VAT exemption for online transactions under 1,500 baht? This is going to hit the consumer hard. It feels like instead of tackling the root problem, this move will just make online shopping more expensive for the average Joe.

    • FiscalHawk February 9, 2024

      It’s a necessary evil. Online merchants have been getting away with not paying taxes for too long. This might actually level the playing field for local retailers who have to comply with tax regulations.

      • DigitalNomad February 9, 2024

        But won’t this discourage international e-commerce, hindering the variety and choices available to Thai consumers? Seems like a step back in a digital age.

  4. FutureThinker February 9, 2024

    The emphasis on tightening regulations could backfire. There’s a delicate balance between protecting local industries and becoming an isolationist state. Thailand thrives on its openness to the world – let’s not forget that.

    • Patriot February 9, 2024

      Protecting our economy isn’t isolationism; it’s survival. The world isn’t going to wait for us to catch up. We take action or get left behind. I stand with Tawee on this.

    • OpenMarketFan February 9, 2024

      There’s truth to both sides, but can Thailand afford to alienate international partners right now? The answer isn’t straightforward, but I worry about long-term impacts on trade relations.

  5. OptimistPrime February 9, 2024

    Exciting times ahead for Thailand! It’s great to see leaders tackling current issues with bold steps. Investing in tourism, protecting SMEs and ensuring fair trade practices will surely pay off. Here’s to a brighter future for all Thai people!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from ThailandMore posts in Thailand »