Covid-19 curbs in the US a boon for Thai toy makers

BANGKOK: The Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) is calling on Thai manufacturers of toys and sports equipment to consider expanding to the United States market, where demand for these products has been rising since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, toy sales in the US rose 16% to US$25.1bil, with demand rising for merchandise such as skates, skateboards, scooters, dolls and accessories, as well as toys for development such as Lego.

Somdet Suchomboon, DITP director-general, said each DITP office overseas has been tasked with exploring opportunities for Thai products. This is in line with commerce minister Jurin Laksanawisit’s policy, he said. The New York DITP office recently reported that the consumption of toys and sports equipment in the US has been rising because people are stuck at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “From January to November 2020, the US was Thailand’s sixth biggest buyer of toys and sports equipment, worth US$98mil or about 2.94 billion baht. Though Thailand’s main competitors are China, Vietnam and Taiwan, it has an advantage because tax is waived on several products, ” Somdet said.

Thailand is not charged import duty on golf equipment, golf clubs, golf balls, exercise equipment, balls, aqua equipment, tennis balls, inflatable balls, outdoor recreation equipment and games, various ice-skating equipment, roller skates, sailboat and equipment, while its competitors are subject to 4.4 to 15% tax.

Noppadon Thongmee, director of the DITP office in New York, said the US was an attractive market because consumers had high purchasing power and found products from Thailand satisfactory, which will contribute to high market growth. Since Thailand manufactures many famous brands and can ensure quality, it is eyed by many importers. However, Thailand’s competitiveness is affected by some limitations. ─ The Nation/ANN

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