Jaruwan CEM1

Blogger: Mrs. Jaruwan Suwannasat Director, Exhibition and Events Department of TCEB

Myanmar’s growing appetite for products such as premium food and beverages, machinery and luxury items is making our neighbour to the north-west, without doubt, an important market for exhibition organisers in Thailand.

Fuelled by the fact that more than a fifth of Myanmar’s population will be middle class by the year 2020, the country’s impact on trade shows – certainly in terms of visitors – in Thailand has risen steadily since 2011.

Exhibitors too, though proportionately fewer in number than visitors, attended Thai events particularly in the Food and Agriculture (45.84% of the total), Automotive (17.29%) and Health and Wellness (10.13%) sectors. These sectors are well represented in Thailand by events such as UBM’s Food Ingredients Asia, Reed Tradex’s Automotive Manufacturing and Informa’s Beyond Beauty ASEAN.

However, these are not the only shows that are set to benefit from Thailand’s closer ties with Myanmar. In news that will be of interest to organisers of seafood and related exhibitions, both nations have committed to intensify their cooperation on fisheries development, through joint investment in fishing fleet activity in select areas currently short on fishing resources.

This is good news for leading Thai events such as Food Ingredients Asia and Viv Asia, and crucially, Koelnmesse’s Thaifex-World of Seafood, which takes place at the Impact exhibition centre in Bangkok on 31 May to 4 June, 2017. The 13th edition of this event, held this year, was the largest and most impactful show yet, attracting a total of 42,528 trade visitors – a 21 per cent increase from 35,205 in 2015 – and 1,919 exhibitors from 40 countries. Knowing Myanmar and Thailand are working together to increase their output creates even more opportunity for international companies.

On the ground, infrastructure developments such as the Dawei special economic zone, which aims to facilitate trade between the two countries, as well as Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as the ‘Discovering Thainess’ campaign of last year; Myanmar’s attendance at Thai exhibitions can only grow stronger.

Myanmar’s ministry of commerce is upgrading the trading facilities of its customs and excise offices on the border with Thailand as a result of trade promotions standards dictated by ASEAN membership. And following the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community, together with the freedom of labour it created, Thailand has requested that Myanmar expedites its labour nationality verification process.

Thailand’s trade shows are just a border away – and with it Myanmar’s access the global trading community.