Industry eyes export uptick

A rise in food exports next year is poised to raise revenues in Thailand's packaging industry by 7% from 300 billion baht this year, says the Thai Packaging Association (TPA).

Shrimp exports should buoy the rebound, after production slumped 70% in 2013 with an Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) outbreak, said TPA president Chaivudhi Pungthong.

Food packaging accounts for most of Thailand's packaging output, followed by flexible packaging, such as films and plastics, now in exponential growth, he said.

As a regional leader in packaging, Thailand generated 300 billion baht in 2013 from serving exports and domestic demand.

Exports of packaging materials _ primarily film, plastic and printed materials _ total about 60 billion baht but could hit 100 billion with the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), said Mr Chaivudhi.

"Despite the ongoing political conflict, the packaging industry will continue to grow because the industry is tied to the production of consumer goods, which is not usually affected by the political situation," he cited.

Growth in the packaging industry hinges on domestic purchasing power and issues such as non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and packaging supply, he said.

With assistance from the Department of International Trade Promotion, TPA will bring delegations from 12 Thai firms to Interpack 2014, an international trade fair at Dusseldorf in Germany on May 8-14.

"Interpack will provide a venue to promote the Thai packaging industry as well as to gain insights into the latest trends in food packaging," said Mr Chaivudhi.

Europe leads in food packaging technology, both in production and for ensuring compliance with food safety standards, key to Thailand's exports, he added.

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