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Thailand: Striving to Enhance Its Global Competitiveness
Source: thailand.prd.go.th
Source Date: Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement
Country: Thailand
Created: Sep 13, 2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva believes that, with concerted efforts by the public and private sectors, Thailand will be able to enhance its international competitiveness. The country is ranked 26th in global competitiveness among 58 countries this year, according to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2010, prepared by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development.

In his speech at the seminar “Thailand Competitiveness Conference 2010” at the Plaza Athenée Hotel in Bangkok on 1 September 2010, the Prime Minister pointed out that the competitiveness ranking for Thailand this year was close to that of last year. But in the yearly survey “Ease in Doing Business 2010,” conducted by the World Bank, Thailand’s ranking is considered high, at 12th out of 183 countries.

He said that the Thai economy had clearly picked up from the recent economic crisis and it is expected to expand by between 7 and 7.5 percent this year. The growth rate shows a positive sign, and Thailand has set a target to maintain it at 4.5 to 5 percent annually in the medium and longer terms. In order to achieve this growth rate, the Prime Minister stressed the need to enhance the country’s competitiveness.

In a move to enhance competitiveness, the Government has launched several investment projects in infrastructure development. A budget of 170 billion baht has been approved for the next five to six years to improve the rail system. Thailand is holding discussions with China on the speed train project linking with neighboring countries. Other investment projects involve water management, public health services, and education. The Prime Minister said that all these projects were important to efforts that would enhance Thailand’s competitiveness.

Moreover, he said, the Government is revising the tax structure, so that the country’s tax rates will be in a position to compete with other nations. Wage adjustment will also be made with caution to strengthen the local economy, while maintaining competitiveness. Another project is that the Government is trying to link the research and development system with entrepreneurs, especially in the manufacturing and trade sectors. The project starts with collecting information on research work from various universities and other institutions to establish a database, so that the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will be able to make use of it.

Concerning the service sector, he said, the Government needs to increase incentives for more liberalization, since Thailand has great potential for further growth in this sector. The Cabinet recently approved additional incentives for foreign filmmakers choosing Thailand as their location for film shooting.

The private sector wants Thailand to be on the list of the top fifteen countries in terms of global competitiveness. In this regard, the Prime Minister said that Thailand needs to work harder to achieve this aim and that all sectors must move forward in harmony.
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