The Thai economy is on a path to recovery after being impacted by the global Covid-19 pandemic and could see further upside as international companies consider Thailand as an investment destination amid the ongoing Sino-US trade war, experts said at a forum.
Thailand’s economic expansion could be further propelled by growth in sectors including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, real estate, investments in the country’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), renewable energy and digitalisation, according to a panel discussion at Standard Chartered Bank (Thai)’s “ASEAN Business Forum: Thailand – Resilient and Ready for Trade”.
Ministry of Commerce permanent secretary Boonyarit Kalayanamit said: “Over the past several months, Thailand has proved that the country is more than resilient and can persevere when facing both public health and economic challenges.
“The international communities have recognised Thailand as one of the most viable and trusted countries with strong public health affairs. Certainly, that has led to strong confidence in Thailand as a trusted destination for trade, investment and tourism.”
He added in his keynote address: “Thailand has strong potential to become a regional trade hub. The country’s ideal geographical location and extensive infrastructure typically mean Thailand could serve as a product and distribution centre for ASEAN countries and beyond.”
With the Sino-US trade war still simmering and as a result of the pandemic, international companies are shifting their investments and Thailand has emerged as a target destination.
Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) secretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit said to support the potential relocation of investments and to be part of a resilient supply chain, the BOI has implemented a special investment stimulation package to tap these investments looking for a safe haven.
The EEC has been positioned as a new growth hub of ASEAN, supporting investments with a focus on sectors using higher technology and knowledge content.
“Not only Chinese firms but also American, Japanese, Taiwanese and South Korean companies are relocating their business to this region,” said Kirida Bhaopichitr, director, Economic Intelligence Service (EIS), Thailand Development Research Institute.
International tourism, which accounts for around 12 per cent of Thailand’s gross domestic product, is critical to the economic recovery but can only support the rebound if Thailand is reopened to the international market, said Kirida, adding that tourism should be developed to become a higher value industry.
“Thailand is one of our most focused countries in the region. The country has set a benchmark in reliable electricity supply, the basis for investment, with digital infrastructure being put well in place,” said Markus Lorenzini, president and CEO, Siemens Energy Limited Thailand (Cambodia, Laos & Myanmar).
As for power generation and related power transmission, Siemens is cautiously optimistic about future demand and future needs of energy infrastructure given the prospects for the EEC and the export industry, digitisation, renewable electricity and cross border electricity trade, added Lorenzini.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK