June 20, 2014 00:00 By Erich Parpart, Petchanet Prat
The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand will meet with the National Council for Peace and Order within a few weeks to discuss the NCPO's economic proposals and seek better understanding of the time frame of the junta's economic road map, JFCC
Six foreign chambers of commerce met with NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday. They were the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand, German-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Franco-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce.
Srirat Rastapana, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, who led the foreign chambers to meet with Prayuth, said they were delighted to have an opportunity to talk with the NCPO. Foreign chambers want to see stability in the long run so their members can draw up future business plans.
“The NCPO head insists that the government will facilitate trade and investment growth. The government will also amend business laws to facilitate private enterprises and investors,” Srirat said.
She added that Prayuth also explained the need for reform in the Kingdom and that it would not allow any corruption any longer. Thailand also will continue its collaboration with other countries.
The Commerce Ministry has been working with the Foreign Ministry to provide clarification on the country’s situation and has instructed commercial attaches in 64 countries to inform trade partners about the situation here in Thailand, she said.
She added that so far their responses were quite positive, since foreign business operators understand that the political situation does not affect the export industry and they are confident that Thailand will remain their ally.
Srirat also said the Japanese Chamber of Commerce had visited Prayuth on May 26 and the NCPO had promised to take care of flood prevention to increase Japanese investment confidence.
Darren Buckely, president of American Chamber of Commerce, said the NCPO had explained to the chambers the reasons for the coup. He said the foreign chambers had proposed an economic reform plan.
The long-term economic reform proposals by the foreign chambers consists of 7 points: anti-corruption measures, infrastructure, intellectual property rights, customs, a level playing field in industries through the reform of the Foreign Business Act, reform of education to increased skilled labour, improvement in visa procdures such as the cancellation of the requirement to report to immigration authorities every 90 days to make it more convenient for existing foreign investors and business operators.
“These economic reform proposals are what we have been looking for, for quite a long time and if these proposals are accepted, it will improve Thailand’s competitiveness in the long term,” he said.
Darren also said that the foreign chambers would like to continue the dialogue with the NCPO about the country’s situation and to further discuss the long-term development of Thailand.