Australian chamber chief buoyed by Thai fundamentals

Economy September 14, 2015 01:00

By ERICH PARPART
THE NATION

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THE incoming president of the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Brenton Mauriello, says Thailand remains an attractive place to invest in and visit for Australians despite the terrorist attack in Ratchaprasong, the economic slowdown in China and the on



“Any slowdown in the tourism sector is a knock-on effect but this is not a long-term situation and Thailand has been through 1997 [the Asian financial crisis], 2004 [the tsunami in the South], various coups [2006 and 2014] and floods [2011] but this country bounces back. And the best thing about this place is that it is resilient,” Mauriello, the owner of Jones the Grocer restaurant in Bangkok, said in an exclusive interview with The Nation.
“The loss of visitors is not a major concern as they will come back … and there are many stimulus packages that we are very anxious to see hit the ground and implemented since it is critical for them to happen now, especially for the small and medium enterprises, along with the larger scale infrastructure projects that also need to hit the ground running,” he added.
Mauriello, who is also chief executive officer of architecture and interior design firm dwp (design worldwide partnership), praised the new Council of Economic Ministers’ measures to support and promote SMEs as he believes that will enhance the growth of the economy in the long run.
He said the simulation of the economy around a network of transport infrastructures, such as the Skytrain and high-speed train network, would result in more development and investment in real estate and other related businesses, which is something that foreign investors are looking forward to.
Regarding the delays in mega projects, he said: “I think that everybody understands the situation, that such decisions should not be made quickly as these decisions last for hundreds of years so they need to be made correctly and wisely.
“Of course we would like the decisions to be made and for the stakes to hit the ground but foreign investors understand that these things take time and it is better to be right than wrong while the confidence level is not determined by the projects only, as there are other things at play,” he added.
He explained that one of the other things at play was certainty, because when there is uncertainty there is hesitation.
He said the government staying in power longer after the National Reform Council rejected the draft charter was almost insignificant compared to the level of confidence in the country.
“It is what it is and it doesn’t really matter here as Thailand will survive, businesses will continue and they have remained confident in the long-term fundamentals of Thailand as it doesn’t matter who does what, it is fantastic here,” he said. “If you were making decisions to invest or not you would still invest and I think the machinations of politics and administration have little impact [on foreign investment decisions].”