Four products may be taken off US list

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects the United States to remove Thai sugar, prawns, fish and garments from its list of goods produced by child and forced labour in the near future after its presentation on labor protection moves in Thailand.

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Songsak Saicheua, director-general of the Department of American and South Pacific Affairs, said on Tuesday that he expected a positive response from the US after a visit to Washington by Thai officials and private sector representatives on July 19 to 25.

The Thai delegation included Mr Songsak and representatives of eight Thai food associations. They met officials of the US government and congress, representatives of 10 large retail companies and trade unions and the chief executive officers of 18 American companies in Washington DC.

Mr Songsak said that his delegation explained Thailand's serious attempts to tackle alien labour problems and human trafficking, and they included the National Council for Peace and Order's ongoing registration of illegal foreign workers to rescue them from abuse and human trafficking.

He also mentioned a bill to protect workers in fishery and related industries. For example, the workers would have a 30-day vacation each year.

Mr Songsak said he felt the US now had a better understanding and he expected Washington would remove these four product items from its list of goods produced by child and forced labour. He thought sugarcane would be taken off first.

Mr Songsak said he would send additional information on Thailand's labour solutions to the US in August and would wait for expected good news in September.

The private sector of the US now also better understood the operations of the NCPO and would continue to buy Thai products, he added.

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