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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 23, 2008
Thailand in Poland
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Time for Thailand
April 23, 2008   
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The Thai government is organizing a four-day Thailand Exhibition, Tajlandia Expo in Poland, in Warsaw for the first time.
Its aim is to encourage mutual trade and investment cooperation between Thai manufacturers and their Polish counterparts,
and to promote tourism and trade.

Vannaporn Ketudat, commercial counselor and director of the Thai Trade Center in Warsaw, speaks with Jolanta Wolska.

How many companies do you expect to take part in the Thai Expo?
About 100 companies with a focus on trade will take part in this first Tajlandia Expo in Warsaw. There will be many sectors represented: food, fashion, clothing, footwear, jewelry, natural products and cosmetics, and lifestyle, house and leisure products and others, which include many varied products, such as elastic yarn, car batteries, tires and so on. Apart from these products we will offer Thai cuisine, fresh Thai fruit, information about our tourist services, Thai massage and Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, exhibitions.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and even China are your competitors in terms of seeking investment. Why should investors look at Thailand?
We are in the middle of Asia so we are the gateway to the north, south, west and east. We are in a prime location just like Poland is in Europe. Also, we have good relations with our Asian neighbors, highly educated people; our wages are appropriate for investors; and our technology is second to none.

How competitive is Thailand in comparison to other countries in Asia?
We can compete even with Japan and South Korea. We have different markets from them and we are competitive in our fields. We are competitive in investment because our wages are lower and real estate is cheaper. Also our trademark is hospitality and service, which is what people appreciate when they come to Thailand.

Why did Thailand choose Poland as a location to set up food processing plants, near Katowice and Szczecin?
Because Poland is a good location for trade with Europe, we can export to all European Union countries from here and also to Eastern Europe and Russia. I think Poland is the best place in Europe right now. Also, Poland's economy is growing fast and there is a lot of room to grow.

Thailand is the number one exporter of rice in the world. Is it also exported to Poland?
Yes, the long grain rice. Rice is getting more popular in Poland as more people are trying Asian and Thai food.

What else does Thailand export to Poland?
Canned pineapple is the number one fruit export to Poland. Poland also imports other canned products, such as tuna, lychees and fruit, as well as electric and electronic parts. Poland has a lot of industries which use our components. We also export electrical goods, including radios, televisions and telephone sets; other household products and those made from rubber including latex gloves.

And what does Poland export to Thailand?
Mostly chemical products, dairy products and medicines.

The balance of trade between our two countries is in favor of Thailand, but we encourage exports from Poland, because Polish products are very good. But not many people know about them in Thailand. We would encourage Poland to promote itself more in our country. We will have our Thai television filming in Poland during the Expo and that will also be a good promotion for your country in Thailand. I prepared material for a program about Poland which will be broadcast in Thailand prior to our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Mr. Mingkwan Saengsuwan, of the Royal Thai Government, coming to Warsaw to open the Tajlandia Expo.

Thai food has become popular across the world, but in Poland it has been slow to take off. Why do you think that is?
There are only about 100 Thai people living in Poland. So compared to many countries in the world there are not many of us to introduce our cuisine here. Until recently there was only one authentic Thai restaurant in Poland with a Thai chef. Our Thai chefs are in demand in Poland to cook Chinese food, sushi and other Asian food.

I notice that Polish people are changing and more are willing to try new tastes, because they travel more.

What are the main Thai food specialties?
Our specialties include shrimp soup and Thai noodles. Both are a bit spicy, a bit sour and a bit salty.

When Polish people visit Thailand do they also visit other neighboring countries?
Many people here have told me that they mainly go for vacations for three or four weeks, and then maybe continue on to do business in Hong Kong or elsewhere. Those who have been to Thailand once keep coming back there. They come not only to see the beauty of the country but also to enjoy the hospitality of its people. Generally, Polish people prefer to go to the beach than to the mountains.
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