Thai Trade Center
Interview to Director Mrs Wanasri Jotikabukkana
by Ivan De Stefano
The Thai Trade Center, under the guide of DITP, Department of International Trade Promotion, are government offices representative with the function to local contacts as regards commercial affairs of the Department of Commerce in Thailand. With its two Italian offices, the Thai Trade Centre acts as a link between the Thai exporters and the potential Italian buyers providing necessary information to establish lasting commercial relationships with Thailand. Milan office deals of North Italia: Lombardia, Piemonte, Valle d’Aosta, Liguria, Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna. The office of Rome is referent for the Middle-South of Italy: Lazio, Toscana, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo Molise, Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Puglia, Sicilia, Sardegna; in this regard we go to see the doctor Wanasri Jotikabukkana, the Director of Milan located in Via Albricci, that welcoming us with warmth and courtesy, has answered at some of our questions.
How long have you been working as the Director for Thai Trade Centre in Milan?
I’m working as the Director in one of the offices of the Minister of Commerce. We have sixty-one offices in the entire world. Normally, as a Director of a Thai Trade this is my last year, in that for in which, for requirements of the service, I manage both the Milan office that one of Rome. The mission of the Thai Trade of each Country is to confirm the trade between Thai and Italy, as Department of International Trade, we deal with both exports and imports between Italy and Thai.
For Thailand, is preferable import or export?
Actually, we prefer export from Thailand to Italy, but we understand also that at the world people don’t want only to buy, but also to sell, and our target is to promote trade.
The strength of Thailand is food, but Italians consume little foreign food. We realized that we have to export something that have a value in design and quality, and try to improve our products to meet the needs of Italy. We try to improve quality and we concentrate a lot on details to ensure that our product are different from those of other Asian countries, try to have a good trade penetration. This is the reason why we search innovation also in our products aimed abroad. We are aware on the fact that food is difficult point, so we start to create a link from Thai to Italy, we invite all tourists to go to visit our Country, to understand more closely our culture, its products in term of design, decorative items, gourmet food, in order to increase a long life trade relationship. Thailand is a country that buys from Italy very gladly, especially brand known in the entire world. The benefit to the Italian brand is really felt in Thai; just think of excellence of Italian fashion like Prada, Gucci, D&G, Armani, and Valentino.
How many Italian stores are there in Thailand?
There are many Italian stores in Thailand.
What is the difference between Italian price and Thais price?
The price are almost the same. For example 1€ corresponds to 40 baht.
Do you prefer to buy in Italy or in Thailand?
In Thailand, of course. Each Italian product has a high price, and it depends where you buy it.
What are the opportunities to invest in Thailand for the Italian companies? What are the industries that attract more?
Italian brand is much known in Thailand, to promote it you don’t need to do much marketing; instead, Thais products have to start from the beginning, spending much in term of marketing and communication to promote Thais products in Italy. For the Italian products is different, only for the fact that an Italian product is already an excellence.
How do you create meeting between Thai and Italy?
We carry out a Business Matching activity: after receiving a request from an Italian or Thai company, we source a list of suitable partner and we organize a meeting that can take place at our offices in Italy or in Thailand and then at the companies. Regarding the requests for possible investors in Thailand, we bring to the attention of BOI (Board of Investment) located in Paris the requests received and then BOI will occupy to examine and eventually to organize meeting for the evaluation and implementation of investment.
What benefits can derive an Italian company to join with the Thai-trade Centre? For the Italian company, what is the list of advantages to be connected with Thai market?
Through a database, we have a contact with the Minister of Commerce where we organize all; in Thailand, we examine the contacts of the reputable companies interested to have a trade relationship with the Italian companies. Thai Trade Centre promotion events in Italy for the Thai culture.
When you create a meeting, you do it autonomously or lean of private companies of the area?
It depends. We are connected both with the Minister of Commerce and with the Chambers of Commerce in Thailand, and we need to get in cooperation with private companies to support.
Do you use high budgets to operate in Italy than the other countries?
In Asian continent, Thailand is the number one, apart from China, Singapore and India, we focus a lot on international trade, and we boast more trades than in other countries at the world. Thai trade Centre supports concretely this process of trade meetings, linking the question with the manufacturing companies, saving much time and money, simplifying accordingly the trade.
What similarities are there between Italy and Thailand?
Italy and Thailand are trade friend for 147 years; you can notice that all Thai restaurant have also Italian food. My task is to bring Thailand to Italians to make it clear to everyone and to create synergies aimed at promoting and economy. When I started my term, that is four years ago, I knew there would be the EXPO. My mission was to make people appreciate even more Italians Thai food. I wanted to present Thai food because I believe that it is qualitative and it can be mixed with the Italian food. We introduce ourselves as a Country with sophisticated quality, with a design that can meet with the Italian one. To bring the Thai Trade in Italy we have to focus on food, succeeding to attract the Italians interests, also thanks to the great distribution as ESSELUNGA and CONAD, with whom we have undertaken excellent collaborative relations, where today you can find our Thai products.
In what would you invest Thailand in Italy?
Thailand strongly believes in investing in brand and design, that are two strengths of Italy, from Thai point of view the Italian product is perfect, because is Italian.
What do you think about Italy? Do you find a good response?
This is not a good time from the economic point of view, but there are many possibilities to grow together.