April 22, 2014 00:00 By Petchanet Pratruangkrai
The former head of Asean has urged Thai enterprises and government agencies to adapt to the upcoming seamless market and reap benefits from logistics advantages to promote more trade and investment.
The Bt2-trillion infrastructure scheme envisioned by the government is needed, but transparency should be ensured, former secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said.
Surin told a seminar on developing trade associations organised by the Business Development Department last week that more competition would be seen in the market after the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is fully implemented next year.
Thai enterprises cannot focus solely on the domestic market. They need to develop their products and services to serve the demand of Asean consumers, otherwise they would lose market share to other Asean enterprises, Surin said.
“Thailand has more advantages geographically and logistically. Thai enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, have to urgently develop and promote sources of funds, quality, product standards and technology,” he said.
The Bt2-trillion infrastructure development policy is good for the country, but it needs to be sure that it does not lead to corruption.
Many countries in Asean are closely monitoring the Bt2-trillion plan’s progress as it will create linkages between Thailand and other countries in Asean and Asia.
Pongpun Gearaviriyapun, director-general of the Business Development Department, said the AEC will remould the environment for businesses. Thai players need to develop themselves and create supply chains from upstream to downstream to reduce costs and operating inefficiency. The department will continue to help promote local companies through trade associations so that they would form a strong partnership to compete in the domestic market and penetrate overseas markets, she said.
There are 2,996 trade associations in the country.
Vuthichai Duangratana, deputy permanent secretary, said seminars on the “Thai economy in the future under the AEC” will focus on educating operators in each region about the Asean economy and how to do business under integrated trade and investment.