Gem and jewelry exports expected to see marginal impact from GSP suspension
Gem and jewelry exports are likely to see a marginal impact from the US suspension of trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), according to the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand. There are four major product groups in the GSP; genuine jewelry, goldwork or silverware, jewelry made from pearls and precious stones, and imitation jewelry. Only 22 minor items within these four groups will have to pay the tariff at a normal rate. Last year, outbound shipments of these four groups of products to the US were worth US$111 million (3.36 billion baht) or 8.2% of total gem and jewelry exports. Diamonds, colored gemstones and pearls still enjoy zero tariffs. Last year, Thailand shipped $364 million worth of those three products, up 7.3% from a year earlier. Gem and jewelry shipments including gold is predicted to grow by more than 1 percent in September, up from last year's $12 billion, which was up 4.7% from 2017.
The BOI approved five more Food Innopolis sites as science and technology zones in addition to the eight already in place. Investment projects in the targeted industries and located in any of the 13 Food Innopolis locations will receive additional privileges on top of the normal package of 5-10 years of corporate income tax exemption depending on the type of business. These privileges include a50% corporate income tax deduction for five years or an additional two years of corporate income tax exemption. The target activities qualifying for investment promotion include plant and animal breeding, research and development, and scientific testing services, among others.
Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is hosting a special section on its website dedicated to Thai products. The portal will give Thai makers of quality products access to online markets in China and other countries. Buyers will be able to more conveniently browse specifically for items from Thailand. So far, 45 companies have expressed interest in being featured in the portal. The Ministry of Commerce is also working with Alibaba’s Hema supermarket chain, which currently has 180 branches in China, in placing Thai products on their shelves. Hema is planning to expand to 400 locations within the coming year.