Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra addressed a recent seminar held to consider the national agenda under the new era for the Thai economy within the ASEAN Economic Community, which will form in 2015. At that event she remarked that now is the time to discuss in detail Thailand’s trade and services in preparing industry to cope with coming AEC 2015; the discussion needs to focus on what affect will the AEC have on Thai business operators and other SMEs and how both private and public sectors will work together to help and support each other.
In talking about the AEC, the prime minister noted that it comprises 3 pillars under the ASEAN framework: political, economic, and social. Thailand needs to begin preparation and layout its economic infrastructure for trade, and to undertake preparations for the AEC as part of its efforts to restore investor confidence.
The seminar noted that the AEC offers Thailand the following challenges and opportunities:
1.) Single market and production base – 10 countries will increase their negotiating power, as they are united under a single large market and population base.
2.) Balance economic development and transparency – it is an opportunity for ASEAN countries to find the most competitive and effective production and material cost inside the economic community. The increased competition will help entrepreneurs expand their markets, while many small companies will have to improve their competitiveness in order to survive.
3.) Competition in the large market – Thailand has to enhance its productivity and create more skilled workers.
4.) ASEAN is a market base from which to work within the global economy.
For foreign investment, investors will eye Thailand as a gateway to connect with other ASEAN countries since the benefits of the AEC will help those investors to do business in region.
ASEAN gives entrepreneurs more choices of production and material costs, more effective logistics and transportation.
For SMEs, the Thai government has announced a policy to develop and support SMEs and since each industry has different strategies the government is trying to work with them to come up with the best way to support them in the AEC. To that purpose, many workshops are being organized by Provincial Commerce Offices to allow input from both public and private sectors. At the same time, SMEs also have to work to enhance their own competitiveness; especially in terms of value creation for agricultural products and better pricing, including branding.
The seminar drew attention to the fact that special focus on enhancing SMEs’ competitiveness and overseas investment promotion has to be strengthened.
Infrastructure development is already one means being employed to adjust the country’s balance, i.e. economic infrastructure development, public utility, public health access (30 baht health insurance), quality of life improvement including transportation development (high speed train development, road and rail development) connecting Thailand’s domestic market with ASEAN.
Current infrastructure improvements include the GMS economic corridor development, Dawei deep seaport development, which will act as a land bridge from Myanmar to Laem Chabang, connecting the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. This will help to reduce logistics and transportation costs, especially in agricultural products. With connectivity, trade barrier reduction is important and so Thailand has also made permanent its temporary customs houses.
The prime minister believes if both public and private sectors can agree on the same policy, with business as the major vehicle to drive country’s development, all of Thailand can grow. In that effort, the government is willing to assist the private sector in every area that they can for the country’s future development.
Info : BOI: http://www.boi.go.th
Info : BOI: http://www.boi.go.th