Thai businesses are urged to utilise the Netherlands as a distribution centre and production base for Thai products in Europe.
“We can use Dutch know-how and expertise in several fields, such as logistics and agricultural technology to reinforce Thai business potential.”
With its strategic location, good facilities, convenient logistics network and business-friendly law and regulations, the Netherlands is a potential distribution centre for countries in Western Europe, says Nissana Thaveepanit, Minister Counsellor (Commercial) of the Netherlands.
The minister counsellor adds that though the country may only be the sixth largest economy in the European Union (EU), it is the most competitive country.
The Netherlands is Thailand’s 13 largest trade partner with bilateral trade of US$2.6 billion (86.66 billion baht) with Thailand recording a trade surplus in the first six months of this year. Thailand’s key export products are computers and components, machinery and parts, electronic boards, electrical appliances, meat and rubber products. Thailand also imported machinery and parts, chemical products, electronic boards, pharmaceutical and medical products and food from the Netherlands.
In addition to exporting Thai products to the Netherlands before re-exporting them to other countries in the EU, Thai companies may establish a manufacturing base in the country from where they can supply products to European countries.
“Currently, several Thai enterprises have formed joint ventures in the Netherlands including Indorama Netherlands B.V., a manufacturer of PET chip and polyester filament yarns; Bangkok Ranch, an integrated duck meat producer; and Sor. Khonkaen, a food company, which set up a regional factory producing and supplying food products to Europe,” Thaveepanit explains.
According to him, the Netherlands has other business opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs, who want to expand their businesses in the region.
“Interesting industries are agro-food, chemicals, logistics, lifestyle, health and organic products,” Thaveepanit adds. “We can use Dutch know-how and expertise in several fields, such as logistics and agricultural technology to reinforce Thai business potential. Now, Thailand has strength in organic and health products, which are much in demand in the Netherlands. Products from Thailand are considered high-quality, but slightly expensive.”
An increase in the number of tourists visiting the Netherlands in recent years has boosted the service sector in the country, as many new restaurants have opened.
“Thai restaurants are popular among food lovers. Now, there are over 200 Thai restaurants across the country. The DITP launched the Thai SELECT programme to certify and promote authentic Thai cuisine. Therefore, if anyone wants to have authentic Thai food, they can look for the Thai SELECT symbol, which is granted to Thai restaurants overseas that serve authentic Thai food and processed Thai food products,” Thaveepanit says.
Moreover, the DITP also assists Thai companies to explore opportunities in the house brand (or private label) market, which is growing strongly in Europe. According to Euromonitor, the private label market in the EU is currently worth US$157.7 billion (135 billion EUR) Around 30% of products sold in supermarkets in the EU are house brand products, particularly frozen dairy and grocery products.
“This is another promising business for Thai manufacturers. The DITP recently took nine Thai companies in food and non-food industries to participate in the World Private Label 2018 Trade Show held from May 29-30 in Amsterdam, where they met with buyers from around the world and received positive feedback,” he says.
Words by Somhatai Mosika