Thailand’s competitiveness ranking could fall further, business school warns

Economy September 29, 2016 01:00



THAILAND’S ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF) could decline further next year if sufficient progress is not made in development under three pillars

The business school’s comment followed the WEF’s publication yesterday of its “Global Competitiveness Index 2016” report covering 138 nations, which showed that Thailand had slid two places in the rankings, from 32nd to 34th, despite its overall score being unchanged from last year.
Pasu Decharin, dean of Chulalongkorn Business School, said the Kingdom’s overall ranking would likely fall further in the coming years, as the WEF placed more emphasis on future development, especially in regard to education, business dynamism and innovation capacity, in deciding the overall score for each country.
“Another reason the ranking of Thailand – and that of other Asean countries, except Cambodia, whose ranking is up this year – has dropped this year is that the Kingdom is caught in the middle-income trap. The country therefore needs to be concerned about sustained growth, and pay attention to more complex areas of competitiveness, where the shortcomings are many,” he said.
He added that despite having come up with the “Thailand 4.0” policy in order to focus more on innovation and technology, it would take some time for the necessary development to take place and move the country out of the middle-income trap.
In regard to the education and skills weighting pillar in the competitiveness report, the WEF found that Thailand should attach high importance to and seriously develop its human resources related to the education system, focusing on the quality of primary education, Internet use in schools, future workforce skills, school life expectancy, and critical thinking in teaching.
As to business and innovation dynamism, Thailand should concern itself more with private participation, the building of international brands, intellectual property protection, opportunity for new enterprises, and bankruptcy costs, the report suggested. Among Asean+3 (China, Japan and South Korea), Thailand was ranked sixth for overall competitiveness, after Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and China, respectively. 
However, Thailand’s education and skills ranking is lower than that for all other Asean countries, except Vietnam.
Deputy Commerce Minister Suvit Maesincee said that despite Thailand’s ranking dropping this year, he was not unduly concerned as many things that the government had done during the past year had not yet been added into the WEF’s evaluation.