Thailand taking 4.0 regional as ASEAN chair


Thailand is demonstrating its regional leadership by presenting a cohesive plan to promote the development of Industry 4.0 across the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during its one-year term as chair country of the group, and adopting a broad agenda that includes 12 economic deliverables for fellow members.

“Thailand has carefully chosen our priority economic deliverables for the ASEAN chairmanship,” said Minister of Commerce Sontirat Sontijirawong at a seminar in Bangkok last week on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes the advent and adoption of new technologies that span and combine the digital, physical, and biological realms. It includes such phenomena as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and big data.

While 4IR is intended to benefit humanity, the possibility that it could create unintended negative consequences is a subject of debate. However, countries failing to embrace 4IR risk falling behind in economic and societal competitiveness. Thailand has chosen to carefully embrace 4IR, leveraging the passion of its people for the cyberworld and business.

“Recognizing the importance of the 4IR, this topic features prominently in our priority economic deliverables with five out of 12 deliverables focusing on this issue alone,” Sontirat said during his speech.

Those five deliverables are: an ASEAN Declaration on Industrial Transformation to Industry 4.0; the development of an ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan (DIFAP); the development of an innovation road map; guidelines on development of skilled labor to address the challenges of 4IR; and, lastly, policy guidelines to promote ASEAN-based microenterprises and to push for their digitization.

The Kingdom is promoting an action plan will tackle the following issues: facilitating seamless trade, protecting data while supporting digital trade and innovation, enabling seamless digital payments, broadening the digital talent base, fostering entrepreneurship and coordinating actions.

Thailand is in the early stages of a 20-year national plan for advanced development branded as Thailand 4.0. It covers a wide range of sectors including advanced agriculture, but Industry 4.0 is a prominent component. Thai leaders believe they can provide a positive service to their neighbors and all ASEAN by helping them achieve more advanced development.