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Thailand's Textile, garment exports surge

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Thailand's textile and garment exports continued to grow in the first quarter of this year, increasing by 9% to US$1.67 billion or around 66.25 billion baht with the United States, the European Union (EU) and Japan becoming main destinations, according to the Department of Foreign Trade.

Rachane Potjanasuntorn, the department’s direction-general, said here on Sunday that the country's exports of garments were worth $868.3 million and that of textiles worth $803.1 million during the January-March period.

The US still became the largest textile and garment export destination worth $523.2 million, up 12.3%. the EU and Japan came second and third worth $326.3 and $69.4 million, up 15,1 and 4.8% respectively.

The country's textile imports in the first quarter of this year, on the other hand, totaled $697.1 million, down 2% from the same period last year.

Most imports were used as raw materials for local production.

Key import destinations included China, Taiwan, Japan and the US.

He said the textile and garment exports continued to rise in the first quarter because local textile industry operators could adjust themselves more efficiently to production and export competition on the world market upon suffering from trade liberalization last year.

As well, they could expand the export base on the European and Asian markets, including Turkey, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos and the United Arab Emirate.

However, he conceded, the exports of the Thai products might decline in the second quarter of this year due to rising oil prices that could fuel local production costs.

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