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INTERNATIONAL TRADE


Isetan Central World Shopping Centre, Bangkok


such as waste to energy, biomass and biogas and other innovative technologies which will help them achieve their goals in this sector. This market is a leading medical


‘The country’s increasing investment and rapidly growing economy, affords many opportunities for UK companies to exploit’


middle-class disposable income and a large number of international residents, has driven huge growth in the agri-business and food and drink sectors. Opportunities in these sectors are diverse and include animal feed, organic and healthy food products, confectionery, food packaging and processing equipment and sector specific innovative products and technology. The retail sector is booming in


Thailand and this is the case particularly in Bangkok. New shopping malls and retail concepts are opening across the country rapidly and there is substantial


demand for quality international products. For new British brands in clothing, footwear giftware and cosmetics, this is a great time to think about launching into this market due to the Thai consumers' increased appetite for western products. With over 55% of Thailand’s


energy consumption currently from imported sources, the government is aiming to provide 25% of total energy consumption from its own renewable sources by 2022. The Ministry of Energy is offering incentives for investment in the renewable energy sector in areas


tourism hub. Its healthcare and pharmaceutical sector continues to grow, offering opportunities for new products and services. It currently imports 70% of its medical devices, allowing for UK companies to introduce their products and innovations to a market already receptive to medical products from overseas. There is a particular shortage of expertise in diagnostic equipment, e-health and care for the elderly. Most UK companies successfully


doing business in Thailand have local representation. This is either through appointing agents/distributors or by establishing their own offices. After pricing, technical support is


the most important issue for prospective Thai buyers, so companies should be prepared to offer this at a local level wherever possible. A local presence demonstrates companies are serious about the market and willing to provide local technical support to partners and customers.


Relationship building is vitally important and UK companies should be prepared to travel to spend time meeting prospective local partners before launching in the market. English is widely spoken as a business language, but the written and spoken standard tends to be lower among Thai SMEs. It is also recommended that companies become familiar with Thai business etiquette which, if not followed, can quickly sour a business deal. For example, never sit in a position where the feet are stretched out in the direction of a Buddha image, avoid pointing at a person, or snapping the fingers. Age, seniority and hierarchy should always be considered and it is also advisable to have the reverse of your business card translated into Thai. As with any new overseas


venture, businesses should conduct due diligence and seek legal advice once they have identified the mode of entry into the market. Thailand operates a complicated legal and tax system that forms part of the Foreign Business Act (FBA) which imposes restrictions on certain types of business operating in Thailand.


If you are thinking about Thailand as a potential market for growth, or are looking to take your business or innovation to an international level, you can contact Enterprise Europe Network for tailored support. Find more details at www.enterprise-europe.co.uk, or email eeninfo@emc-dnl.co.uk, phone 0333 320 0333 or tweet @EEN_Midlands


business network November 2019 53


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