Thai and U.S. Chambers of Commerce sign digital trade deal


The friendship between Thailand and the United States began with trade across the high seas. Two hundred years later that friendship and trade are moving into cyberspace as the Thai, and American Chambers of Commerce signed two memoranda of understanding last week to promote Thai-U.S. digital trade and investment.

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and John Goyer, executive director for the Southeast Asia chapter of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce signed two agreements at the jointly organized seminar in Bangkok: The New Digital Economy, Creating Thailand – U.S. Commercial Opportunities.

In addition to an MoU on digital trade and investment, the chambers also signed a deal to set up a joint committee on bilateral economic and business promotion.

Goyer said that the agreements would facilitate cooperation between the private sectors by building a platform to develop the digital economy through networking and information exchanges.

Thailand is committed to growing its digital economy as part of its 20-year national strategy dubbed Thailand 4.0. The government has established a Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and is in the process of rolling out a national e-payment system. It has also approved the use of seven digital currencies and has begun allowing initial coin offerings (ICO) for certain companies.

Several Thai commercial banks have invested in blockchain technology firms, and the central bank has developed its own blockchain-based digital currency strictly for use in interbank transactions.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has created a “sandbox” where blockchain entrepreneurs and developers can test new digital financial products. Also, some Bangkok residents with rooftop solar power systems are using blockchain to trade and share energy.

The centerpiece of Thailand 4.0 and its growing digital economy is the new Eastern Economic Corridor, a three-province advanced development zone adjacent to Bangkok. The EEC is home to 10 high-tech industries. China’s e-commerce companies, including Alibaba, have begun investing in the EEC.

Goyer said that a recent survey showed that 70 percent of U.S. chamber members in Thailand expect progress on the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), and are optimistic about Thai economic growth. American businesses would like to help Thailand’s small businesses make greater use of digital technology, and they would like to invest more in the Kingdom’s digital economy.

Photo coutesy of http://www.depa.or.th/en/news/memorandum-understanding-signed-thailand’s-ministry-digital-economy-and-society-and-ministry

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