Issue04 : 26 May 2014

Horizon Thailand sits down and chats with Pipat “Top” Apirakthanakorn, an actor-turns-designer and leader of Eco Design Thai Thai group.

What is Eco Design Thai Thai?
A group of Thai-designed products which are also eco-friendly. When we started the group last year, we aim to concern about 5 things - urban, design, lifestyle, eco-friendly, and must be of Thai origin, meaning the brands who want to join must have Thai designers or are owned by Thais. We don’t specify that material must come from Thai sources. It might be too hard to prove so. 

Why do you start the group Eco Design Thai Thai?
I worked in eco-product industry since 2006. Then I opened an eco-friendly product shop and saw how beneficial it is to gather many eco-products from manufacturers together. I saw developments - both Thai and foreign customers and Thai designers. The products were getting better and more varied. I thought a clear integration between designers would be more beneficial than a shop.

How many brands are in Eco Design Thai Thai?
About 30 brands.

New Zealand’s Honorary Trade Advisor (HTA) talks to Horizon Thailand about his role in fostering links between his country and Thailand.

Can you explain what your role as a HTA entails?
Given that DITP does not have a trade office in New Zealand my chief role is to assist the Thai Trade Centre office in Sydney to facilitate linkages between Thai exporters and importers in New Zealand. An example of this was a trade seminar organised earlier last year when the Thai PM visited New Zealand in March 2013 and I assisted to get New Zealand importers to attend the event.

How did you become a HTA?
I was appointed on the nomination of the then Thai Trade Commissioner in Sydney whose office also encapsulates New Zealand in 2007. However, my initial rapport with Thailand happened in the early 1990s when I visited Thailand three times at the invitation of DEP (now DITP) for a series of trade seminars. Thailand is unique in having this trade advisory service as I am unaware of any other country that follows a similar practice

What work do you undertake to improve trade relations between Thailand and New Zealand?
The Thai and New Zealand prime ministers have agreed to double bilateral trade levels between 2013 and 2020 and I have suggested to DITP that in 2014 they should instigate a review of current trade levels, the likely trends over the next six years and specific programmes that could be developed to achieve the prime ministerial objectives.