Thailand, Indonesia risk losing US trade benefit, Maybank says

After India, Thailand and Indonesia are next in line to lose the special trade status. (Pixabay pic)

SINGAPORE: Thailand and Indonesia are at risk of losing a special trade status that gives developing economies preferential access to the US market, according to Maybank Kim Eng Research.

Thailand is the second-biggest beneficiary of the decades-old program, known as the Generalised System of Preferences, while Indonesia is the fourth-largest, Maybank analysts led by Chief Economist Suhaimi Ilias said in a note Friday. The US recently dropped India and Turkey from a list of GSP countries.

The US review of Thailand’s status involves market access for American pork and worker rights. For Indonesia, it includes intellectual property rights and trade and investment barriers.

Other highlights from the report:

Major exports for Thailand under GSP include air conditioner components, rubber gloves, processed food, non-alcoholic beverages, motorcycles, reading lenses; for Indonesia under GSP, rubber tires, jewellery and chemicals.

Maybank sees US using currency manipulation and undervaluation labels, GSP removal threats to potentially extract trade concessions or win the upper hand in US-China trade war.

“Vietnam, for example, appears to be turning increasingly cautious in its dealings with China’s trade and investments, given the increased US scrutiny for fear of being perceived as a backdoor,” Maybank said

Thailand’s goods trade with the US was US$48.3 billion last year, while for Indonesia it was US$31.1 billion