The Nation



Unrest could affect preparedness for AEC: Commerce Ministry

The Commerce Ministry is concerned that the protracted political struggle could blunt the country's competitiveness ahead of the Asian Economic Community's arrival in 2015.

If the political impasse is resolved quickly, the new government could pursue measures to stimulate the economy to achieve the export growth target of 5 per cent next year.

The business community is confident that the AEC will bring vast opportunities to boost trade provided the anti-government protesters do not seize air and shipping ports. Besides its geographical advantage in logistics, Thailand is ready to vie with regional rivals under the AEC as the government has plans to support the private sector, permanent secretary Sirirat Rastapans said yesterday.

The Commerce Ministry has organised a conference on trade and investment with neighbouring countries and Asean nations in Khon Kaen for the public and private sectors, business operators and representatives of the agricultural sector.

Khon Kaen has been prepared as a major AEC city in the Northeast in terms of information-technology infrastructure, with an e-marketplace and support for state agencies and human resources.

The ministry will try to secure new overseas markets for more value-added goods, which should help increase exports by at least 5 per cent, or US$2.43 million (Bt79 billion), amid the improved global economic situation, Sirirat said.

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