At APEC, US business leaders voice confidence in Thailand


Top-level business executives from the United States said they were optimistic about Thailand’s economic potential and would continue to invest in the Kingdom as it upgrades towards a more innovative economy, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister told reporters after meeting with the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition at the APEC summit in Peru last week.

The business leaders met with Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong who represented Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the APEC summit in the Peruvian capital of Lima. Prajin also serves as Acting Minister of Digital Economy and Society.

Although Thailand’s trading partners and economy are diverse, trade and investment from America are important components of the Kingdom’s growth, development and overall success. Thailand has had formal trade relations with the U.S. since 1833, and was America’s first treaty ally in Asia.

As that bilateral relationship approaches its two-century mark, Prajin told the executives that Thailand was laying the groundwork for its economy to become more competitive and sustainable in order to meet the challenges of a changing global economy. “I am confident that the national reforms and the new economic strategy called Thailand 4.0 will help the country get ready for new challenges,” Prajin told representatives of the Coalition.

Thailand 4.0 is designed to facilitate a shift towards an economy and society more reliant on innovation, higher-technology, creativity and green technologies. Developed by the current administration, it aims to achieve this shift over the next two decades.

Prajin also assured the business leaders that the country was still adhering to its roadmap to rebuild democracy with a more sustainable political system, and is committed to implementing broad national reforms to strengthen people’s participation in government and the economy.

Members of the U.S.-APEC Business Coalition include the Council of the Americas, the National Center for APEC, US-ASEAN Business Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Council for International Business and several others.

Among its many functions, the Coalition also provides logistical support for U.S. executives attending the APEC CEO Summit, and organizes bilateral meetings for U.S. business executives with APEC leaders and ministers present at the event.

Prajin took the opportunity to invite Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to visit Thailand early next year, during their informal meeting at the 24th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting. Zuckerberg responded that he would be pleased to accept the invitation if the chance to visit presented itself.

Prajin said that he would like to see Facebook establish a data center in Thailand. Thai netizens are some of the most avid Facebook users in all of Asia.