Garment exports from Thailand saw a slump to most major markets in the first quarter of the year. This shows how much damage the ongoing political unrest in the country has caused. Exports edged up just 0.73 per cent in the three months from January to March. But shipments in March declined 2.24 per cent in comparison with the same period last year.
The US remained the biggest export market in the three-month period, accounting for 34 per cent of the total. But exports fell 3.6 per cent on the year before. Likewise, exports to the EU and ASEAN regions saw negative growth of 6.1 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively. However, exports to Japan, Thailand’s third largest customer, rose by 6.94 per cent.
In addition, the country's textile shipments fell 2.43 per cent during the January to March period. Thai garment makers face a problem apart from the unrest in their country. Their country lost access to the EU when it was removed from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). Thailand was deemed too wealthy to be included in the program. GSP grants low or duty-free access to EU markets for many developing countries.