Thailand's commerce permanent secretary, Krirk-krai Jirapaet, has revealed that he believes Thailand's competitiveness in the world textile market is eroding despite the impending drop of quotas planned for 2005.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Thai Garment Manufacturers Association the secretary noted that a lack of long-term development plans was taking away manufacturers and suppliers competitiveness.

He urged parties to look to implementing medium and long term plans rather than just focussing on the short term. "We always talk about short-term plans every year so we cannot step forward with other advanced development strategies," Krirk-krai said.

Krirk-krai urged traders to look at employing and training more skilled workers. At present the textile and garment industry employs around four million workers, but only one million of those are classed as high-skilled.

He also urged the exporters to look to forming alliances with Italian and German counterparts, countries which he believes to be leaders in design, technology and marketing.