Hemp to be promoted in the textile industry

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Products made from hemp fiber, including these hats, are promoted by the International Trade Promotion Department.

The Ministry of Commerce seems ready to promote and improve hemp fiber in the Thai textile industry, as it has great potential in the global market under the popular organic, circular and green economic model.

According to Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, Director General of the International Trade Promotion Department, the plan aligns with the government’s ongoing efforts to make hemp a potential new economic crop for commercial use.

Hemp and cannabis had been classified as narcotics in category 5 under the Thai Narcotics Act for many years. The vast medicinal properties of cannabis and hemp have long been known.

In 2019, the possession and consumption of cannabis for medical and research purposes under certain conditions was legalized for the first time in Thailand.

In December 2020, the legalization of cannabis and hemp became more concrete and visible after many parts of the cannabis and hemp grown in Thailand were allowed to be exempted from being considered Category 5 narcotics thanks to a notification from the Ministry of Public Health.

In early 2022, the declassification of cannabis and hemp occurred via another notification from the Ministry of Public Health published in the Official newspaper February 9.

This notification “unlocked” cannabis and hemp from the narcotics classification, creating opportunities for the general public and business owners to use them for broader purposes.

“The department foresaw the potential to promote hemp in textiles and products for export, as it is a natural fiber with many special properties,” Phusit said.

“The production process is environmentally friendly and able to meet global market trends.”

The global market for textiles and clothing made from hemp fibers and products is now estimated at over 140 billion baht, with figures expected to increase by 22.4% between 2022 and 2027 based on growing demand.

In order to take advantage of the global trend, the International Trade Promotion Department has set up a project to develop and promote the export of textiles and garments made from hemp fibers and products for exploit global market demand.

Detailed market information and business development guidelines for hemp products will be provided to help Thai entrepreneurs develop their products and enable them to compete in international markets.

In the first quarter of 2022, Thailand’s exports of textile products (excluding home textiles) reached US$1.72 billion, up 13.8% year-on-year. The most important export markets were the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, India and Germany.

Major export products included garments worth $602 million (34.9%), fabrics and yarns worth $552 million (32%) and other textiles, including artificial fibers, embroidered and lace fabrics, fishing nets, sewing and handicraft fabrics, shawls and scarves of combined value. $571 million (33.1%).

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