Thailand will partner with OECD to improve governance

As part of its continual quest to achieve higher standards, Thailand launched a country program last week in conjunction with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to improve governance and increase competitiveness, the Prime Minister’s office said.

Thailand’s governance is already considered strong in comparison to many countries in the region, as evidenced by the results of an Oxford Business Group CEO survey released last week in which 76 percent of executives said transparency in Thailand was high or very high relative to the region.

The OECD is considered, however, an international standards setter, and its bars are higher. The United States and European countries founded the organization in the aftermath of the Second World War to promote economic progress, market economies, world trade, and democracy.

The country program is the result of an agreement signed in May at the OECD’s Ministerial Meeting in Paris. Kobsak Pootrakool, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office and a chief economic advisor, and Mr. Angel Gurria, the OECD Secretary-General, signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

The country program is intended to “support Thailand’s domestic reform agenda while bringing Thailand closer into the OECD family,” and “aims to bring Thailand closer to OECD committees and standards,” Gurria said.

While the OECD membership is composed mainly of advanced economies and high-income countries, in recent years it has been expanding to include some developing economies and middle-income countries. Thailand is as an upper-middle-income country. The Kingdom already participates in OECD meetings on subjects such as taxation, education, development, energy, digital economy, fisheries, anti-corruption, and small and medium-sized businesses.

Three years ago, Thailand was one of four countries the OECD listed as a potential partner to work on a new cooperative framework that would jointly pursue capacity building and drive internal reforms.

The internal reforms are part of the Thailand 4.0 national strategy to develop the country to become a place where higher technologies, innovation, creativity, and research and development drive national progress.

Gurria said the program would also support Thailand’s efforts to lessen inequalities and create more inclusive growth.

The country program contains 16 projects in key areas such as governance (covering transparent and accountable governance, policy coordination, and budgetary, legal and regulatory best practices), forward-looking economic policy (covering business-friendly practices, development of competition policy, promotion of responsible business, as well as technology and innovation) and human resource development (covering best practices in education and training).