More than 2,000 stainless steel imports ‘stolen’ from Thailand
The world’s most sought-after and best-selling stainless steel mesh is being exported from Thailand after hundreds of tonnes of the product were stolen from a factory in the country’s north-east last month.
The export ban is the first in a series of measures announced by Thailand to stem the flow of counterfeit goods that are used to make goods from the precious metal.
The country is also being criticised for not taking swift action against the factory, which has been operating in the town of Prawit, in the province of Thaibon.
The import ban has prompted criticism from the Thai government, which says it will continue to fight to halt the flow.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the import ban was needed to stop counterfeiters from making their way into Thailand and sell their goods in neighbouring Laos.
“We are very concerned about the importation of stainless steel from Thailand.
This is not only a huge economic loss to Thailand but also the loss of the livelihoods of Thai workers,” Mr Shinawarat said.
The imports from Thailand of the stainless steel were seized by the Thai Customs Agency (TCA) and were held for examination.
The TCA said the goods had been imported from the factories of the same name in the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen, and were not processed at the factories.
It said they were taken to Thailand’s national laboratory for analysis, where they were handed over to Thai customs officials.
Thailand has a total of 11,000 tonnes of stainless and other alloy products worth more than US$1 billion, and imports more than half of them.
Thais are also among the world’s largest importers of nickel and aluminium, with about US$8 billion worth of exports a year.