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Three Targets Set for the Next Stage of the Thai Economy
Source: prd.go.th
Source Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: Thailand
Created: Oct 25, 2010

The Government has set three targets in its move to take the Thai economy to the next stage. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva spoke about the targets in his speech on the topic “Thailand’s Economic Development Roadmap.”

The speech was made at the International Conference on “Asia: Beyond the Economic Horizon,” held at the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on October 15.

In the first target, the Prime Minister said that the Government wants the Thai economy to take full advantage of increased global integration. Secondly, it wants to strengthen the domestic economy, and thirdly, it wants an economy that is fair so that all Thais can share the benefits of economic development.

In order to achieve these three goals, the Prime Minister explained some of the actions that the Government is taking. First, on the global integration, he said, it is clear that the Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia will be the regions that provide the main engine of the economic growth at the global level. This is reflected in the increased interest of other regions in engaging with this region. He revealed that the European Union now wants to join the East Asia Summit, which used to comprise ASEAN as its core plus six partners – China, India, New Zealand, Australia, Korea, and Japan. The East Asia summit will admit two further members – Russia and the United States. So it is clear that the center of gravity of the global economic development is shifting into this region; Thailand must take full advantage of that.

To do so, he said, Thailand has to be a very active player in terms of economic integration and regional cooperation architecture, as a country and through ASEAN. But being an active player is not enough. Thailand also has to tackle basic issues and factors that affect its competitiveness, and the country is doing this through investment, especially in the people. He raised the 15-year free basic education program as an example, saying that the Government is now putting emphasis on the quality of education, on life-long learning, and on making sure that education is well integrated into the economic and social structure of the country.

At the same time, the Prime Minister pointed out that Thailand needs to upgrade and make key investments in physical infrastructure. For instance, it has launched the historic program of upgrading Thailand’s rail links, not just within the country but also connecting to its neighbors. Massive investment in roads and water resources are also keys to improving Thailand’s competitiveness.

As for the second goal, achieving a stronger domestic economy, the Government is doing its best to increase the income and security of the people. It has initiated a scheme on income guarantee for farmers. For the first time, people who are in the agriculture sector would enjoy a certain amount of security. This would be able to sustain the purchasing power and economic activities in all rural areas. The Government is also in the process of building a welfare system that is sustainable.

In the third goal, fair economy, the Government is beginning to solve some long-standing structural problems. Tax reforms are on the cards and the land tax and wealth tax should be put forward to the parliament next year. Legislation on the national savings scheme has passed in the first reading. The Government is also dealing with the issue of distribution of resources, in which new initiatives on issues like land and housing would help deal with the people who are landless or without houses. More initiatives will be taken to make sure that resources are used for economic development. The Government believes that this is as essential as the other goals because it is the only guarantee for sustainability of economic and social and of course political development.

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