Thailand to watch US President Trump’s new trade barriers closely 

  • US President Donald Trump speaks on steel and aluminum tariffs during a meeting with industry leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on March 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

Thailand is now watching closely possible impact on its exports after President Donald Trump announced he would impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminium that has sparked outraged threats of reprisals from countries around the world.

Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) director-general Pimchanok Vonkorpon said she still could not anticipate how much impact Thai exporters would suffer or whether it would affect the country’s competitiveness.

She said Thailand needed to monitor closely the development of the US trade barriers under what was called the president’s “safeguard” policy.

The president’s announced steep increase in import tariffs on steel and aluminium was meant for all exporting countries at same rates that would affect all countries equally, the TPSO chief explained.

But she said affected countries could seek negotiations if it was found that the US safeguard measures do not follow the regulations of the World Trade Organisation, are too high, unfair, and not transparent.

Ms Pimchanok added that the announed tariffs on steel and aluminium came after the US has recently slapped quota system on solar panels and residential large washing machines on all exporting countries, including Thailand.

She said the TPSO would closely monitor the US safeguard policy to look into which of Thai exports would risk facing the high tariff so that it could notify Thai manufacturers  in time to cope with it.

Mr Trump said he plans to impose next week the toughest of the three remedies proposed by the Commerce Department, a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.