The Commerce Ministry will set up a new unit called the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Office this year to prepare Thai businesses for integration into the AEC, which commences in 2015.
The new unit will be under the Permanent Secretary Office and will focus on preparing business sector information on Asean member countries, as well as draw up plans for supporting the integration of Thai businesses within neighbouring Asean markets.
Srirat Rastapana, permanent secretary at the ministry, said the new unit would be able to provide effective assistance to business enterprises setting up in other parts of the region, as it would be coordinating with specialised organisations under the AEC to deal specifically with regional integration.
“The integration work of the new unit should be able to facilitate enterprises in preparing their businesses for a seamless transfer into other Asean markets in the near future,” said Srirat.
The types of business to be focused on would be franchises, exports and investments, Srirat added.
She said that the unit would also emphasise support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which wanted to penetrate other Asean markets. The unit would integrate its work with the Business Development Department, the Intellectual Property Department, and the Foreign Trade Department, so that SMEs didn’t have to waste time and money contacting each agency separately.
The ministry also plans to update a number of its trade laws to ensure they are in line with those of other Asean countries. It will also adjust some of the work of provincial offices to facilitate cross-border trading with Asean neighbours. This will include training of officials on how to manage and adapt to a borderless market.