Agenda 5: Integrating with ASEAN and Connecting Thailand to the Global Community
Against the backdrop of the global geopolitics and geoeconomics of the 21th century, Thailand cannot rely solely on its geographical advantage in Southeast Asia but must position itself on key strategies to become a trading nation and one of Asia’s business centers by achieving four interrelated goals.
- 1. Positioning Thailand as a Trading Nation and one of Asia’s Business Centers
The key strategies to position Thailand as a trading nation and one of Asia’s business centers consists of four interrelated elements:
1. Encouraging multinational corporations to establish international headquarters (IHQ) and international trading centers (ITC) in Thailand, especially in the service sector, financial management, purchasing and procurement, raw materials and components.
2. Developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) which covers three eastern provinces; Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong that will connect with ASEAN-China-India through world-class infrastructure, including roads, ports, airports, high-speed trains, and freight.
3. Developing industrial clusters to promote high potential production bases for targeted Industries to support business utilizing advanced technology and future industries, the so-called “Super Clusters”, namely Automotive and Parts Cluster, Electronic Appliances, Electronics and Telecommunications Equipment Cluster, Eco-friendly Petrochemicals and Chemicals Cluster, Digital-based Cluster, Aviation Cluster, Automation and Robotic Cluster and Food Innovation Cluster. Other targeted clusters consist of Agro-processing Cluster and Textiles and Garment Cluster.
4. Establishing Special Border Economic Zones in 10 provinces: Tak, Sakaeo, Trat, Mukdahan, Songkla, Nong Khai, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Phanom and Narathiwat. This policy will improve economic opportunities and competitiveness, attract investment both domestic and international while simultaneously regulate the border economic areas to resolve issues such as illegal migrant workers and the trafficking of agricultural products from neighboring countries.
- 2. Economic Integration in CLMVT Context
The ASEAN economy is estimated to double in value from currently 2.6 trillion USD by 2030. To become a regional hub, Thailand must begin to shift its focus from “Border” to “Bridge” and from “Nation to Nation” to “City to City” through the concept of “Extending Nation”. This means borders between Thailand and neighboring countries should be gradually perceived as bridges linking economies, trade and investment together. At the same time, Thailand should view the four neighboring countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) as internal markets, with four major cities, i.e., Vientiane, Yangon, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh, and 13 secondary cities, i.e., Mandalay, Myawaddy, Myeik , Dawei, Haiphong, Hanoi, Can Tho, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Koh Kong, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Champasak, Cebu, Davao and Selangor.
- 3. International Business Models in the 21st Century
Thailand will adopt a ‘Service Sector Policy and Strategy based on Mode of Supply’ to enhance the competitiveness of Thai service providers on the global stage. These 4 modes include 1) cross-border supply 2) consumption abroad, 3) commercial presence, and 4) presence of natural person. Each mode of supply have distinct ‘Service Ecosystems’, requiring different conditions, rules, regulations and standards, as well as different degrees of service differentiation.