Trade insights for February 2020

Global trade updates, from the DPA in the US to new online shopping trend in China.

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cover-Trade insights for February 2020

United States

US may not need DPA in its fight against COVID-19
US President Donald Trump issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA), to use the powers of the law to produce or prioritize production of critically-needed supplies. The DPA also allows voluntary agreements between the federal government and private industry, grants the president the authority to halt mergers, and build a network of volunteers from the private sector, to begin mass production of supplies needed to contain the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite this, the country has been unable to meet its own demand for protective gear, particularly rubber-based medical supplies such as rubber gloves. As Thailand is one of the world’s top rubber producers, this is an excellent opportunity for Thai entrepreneurs to increase their share in the US market.  
Thai Trade Center, Chicago

People’s Republic of China

The future of online grocery shopping post- COVID-19.
The busy, modern lifestyle has altered patterns of consumer behavior in China. As people are always on a rush and time is money, online grocery buying is the answer for the modern consumer and is quickly growing in popularity. Furthermore, during the recent spread of COVID-19, Chinese refrained from going out and avoided contact with other people, leading to a surge in online grocery shopping. Although China’s consumer spending dropped significantly previously, the situation is expected to improve now that the worst of the outbreak in the country seems to be over and the government has implemented stimulus and relief measures to restore normal life. Given this background, fresh food producers in Thailand should be getting ready to tap into the Chinese e-commerce market. 
Thai Trade Center, Qingdao

French Republic

French turn to online shopping during COVID-19 outbreak 
Due to the coronavirus restrictions put in place by the government, consumers are forced to limit going out to do their shopping, exercise greater caution and avoid risky places for virus exposure or infection. This has changed consumer behavior, prompting the French to rely more on online shopping –for both pick-up and home delivery. In particular, online purchases of essential goods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, meat, pasta, dried food, cleaning supplies and toilet paper have skyrocketed as people stock up for the quarantine period. For this reason, Thai entrepreneurs should focus more on online marketing. Online shopping is expected to remain popular even after the COVID-19 outbreak eases, which is why Thai businesses cannot ignore e-commerce and should develop an online platform to meet an ever-growing demand for online products.
Thai Trade Center, Paris

United Arab Emirates

UAE sees uptick in online shopping amid COVID-19 pandemic
The outbreak of the new coronavirus has severely affected the flow of goods and services which causes a chain reaction in the economy. People are unable to access goods in stores. Businesses that have migrated to the internet, especially consumer goods retailers, are thriving, in contrast to most of the world’s industries that are experiencing a major slowdown. Many expect this new consumer behavior to last even after the pandemic is under control, as consumers adapt to the new normal and become increasingly comfortable with a digital lifestyle. This is the time for entrepreneurs to shift from the offline to the online world to meet changes in market trends. As e-commerce is a channel that enables businesses to connect with customers and expand their market, this can be seen as a positive effect from the COVID-19 outbreak. 
Thai Trade Center, Dubai

Russian Federation 

Nearly 40% of retailers suspend operations 
The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on trade and the economy are difficult to assess and forecast, particularly as there is no telling when the outbreak will be over. However, it has become certain that retailers are either unable to operate normally or faced with a number of restrictions. As can be expected, products currently in high demand are essential items. One of Thailand’s exported goods that could do well in the Russian market now is instant noodles. The present situation provides an excellent opportunity for Thai businesses, especially producers of ready-to-eat and canned foods. This is because Thai products are accepted in terms of quality, taste and affordable price, making it easier for Thailand to export products to the country as its products are more appealing to consumers than those offered by its competitors. Thai entrepreneurs should therefore take up this opportunity and increase production capacity to meet the rising demand, not only with the Russian market in mind but also other markets across the globe.
Thai Trade Center, Moscow

Republic of India

Export businesses hit hard as Indian airspace closes 
The Indian government’s decision to shut its airspace has impacted exports of various goods, including turmeric and ginger in Nigeria and Indonesia, and rice, chili, fresh and dry garlic, sesame oil, wheat and pulses. Demands for said products are rising by at least 10-15% in Egypt, Israel, Palestine, the United States and Europe due to the need to stock up on staple goods. This has opened up an opportunity for Thai producers of similar products to expand their market share. However, filling this gap for India by exporting to these markets is no easy feat. Matters of concern include pricing, logistics challenges and other limitations. Thai entrepreneurs need to look into the situation and explore export channels before developing sustainable marketing strategies going forward. The economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may provide opportunities for Thailand to tap into new buyers and enable us to come back stronger.   
Thai Trade Center, Mumbai 

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