Bangkok-headquartered Thai Union Group CEO Thiraphong Chansiri (pictured above) has assured customers and stockholders that there would be no material impact on its exports to the USA as a result of the October 25 announcement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that Washington will suspend trade preferences for $1.3 billion worth of products from Thailand in six months’ time.
“At this time, I do not foresee this decision by the USTR as having an impact on our business,” he remarked on October 27, noting that neither seafood nor pet food products sold into the part by his company are on the list.
The USTR said it was rescinding eligibility for a number of seafood products covered by the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in addition to numerous other products from Thailand based on its view that the Thai government as failed “to adequately provide internationally-recognized worker rights.” This will increase tariffs on approximately one-third of the $4.4 billion worth of goods likely to be imported by the United States, based on 2018 statistics.
Thai Union Supports Worker Rights
Meanwhile, Thai Union remains firmly committed to cooperating with governments around the world to improve worker rights in global supply chains. Addressing this subject, Chansiri commented:
“In 2015 we launched our sustainability strategy, SeaChange, an integrated plan of initiatives designed to drive meaningful improvements across the entire global seafood industry. A key pillar of SeaChange is a commitment to worker rights through providing safe, legal and freely chosen employment in our own facilities and in supply chains. We aim to be the world’s most trusted seafood leader.”
In September, Thai Union was ranked number one in the world in the Food Products Industry Index of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the second year in a row. The company has now been listed on the index for six consecutive years. Importantly, it achieved an industry best-in-class 100th percentile ranking for total sustainability score, including the same ranking for Codes of Business Conduct, Supply Chain Management and Human Rights.
In October, Thai Union was ranked as number one in the Seafood Stewardship Index out of the 30 largest seafood companies globally, and its director of sustainable development, Dr. Darian McBain was awarded a Freedom Award from Anti-Slavery Australia.
In business for more than 40 years and listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (TAT) since 1994, Thai Union Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of value-added seafood. Employing more than 47,000 people, the company is a major producer of frozen shrimp and is ranked as the largest packer of canned and other shelf-stable tuna products on the planet. Sales last year topped THB 133.3 billion (US $4.1 billion).