“Clusters” and “Super Clusters”, high potential industries to invest in Thailand
On December 8, Mr. Pisan Manawapat, Ambassador of Thailand to the United States met with 21 representatives of leading American companies in various industries at a round table meeting hosted by Booz Allen Hamilton and organized by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of the Meridian International Center in Washington D.C. Some of participants are from 3M, Albright Stonebridge, Angarai, Brown Forman, Chevron, Comcast, DCI, Google, Microsoft, Northern Trust, Visa, U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
Ambassador Pisan updated the participants on Thailand’s roadmap and substantive passage of various laws in the current government to gear up Thailand for international standards such as anti human trafficking, anti-illegal fishing, labor protection, wildlife protection, gender equality, etc. Major reforms are underway to rebalance the Thai economy to make it more competitive as the country moves toward more sustainable and inclusive growth. There are 7 related laws on Cyber Security and Digital Economy that has passed the cabinet.
The government put high priority on measures to tackle corruption problems. Transparency of government procurement through Construction Sector Transparency (CoST) system for all large construction projects by state enterprises is introduced to ensure transparency and compliance with international standards. It also enhances the ease of doing business, which has moved Thailand to rank 26th by the World Bank report.
Thailand is blessed with its strategic location and groomed itself to be ready for more investors. The new economic policies are designed to focus on 10 high potential industries. “Clusters” of expertise and competitiveness (Agriculture, Electronics, Automobile and parts, Tourism) and “Super Clusters” of future high-technology/high-potential industries and areas of innovation (Robotic, Aviation, Digital, Bioindustries, Medical and Healthcare Services) are launched to shift Thailand industrial structure from labor-intensive low-wage production to higher value added manufacturing. Investors in these clusters will enjoy special tax and other investment incentive packages.
Thailand’s international reserves are USD157 billion, while short-term foreign debt is only USD 55 billion and the public debt-to-GDP ratio is 43%. Inflation is negligible and unemployment rate is 0.9% – much lower than the OECD average. The Thai economy is fast recovering with a steady growth trajectory despite a weak global environment. Consumer and industrial confidence indices are picking up, thanks to the stimulus measures by the government. The growth rate for the 3rd quarter this year is 2.9%, a significant improvement from 0.9% in the 3rd quarter of 2014. Various international and domestic agencies have forecasted 3.5 – 4% growth in 2016.
For more information on Cluster industries, please visit Thailand Moving Ahead with Cluster Development