EEC Updates and Investment Opportunities

EEC Updates and Investment Opportunities – Joint ATBC/RTE/EEC & BOI Webinar 26 February 2021

Download the presentation from the EEC Updates and Investment Opportunities joint webinar.

Jointly hosted by the the Royal Thai Embassy, Canberra and the Australia-Thailand Business Council in collaboration with the Thailand Board of Investment, Sydney Office, the presentation highlights the key points covered during the webinar.

Her Excellency, Ms. Santipitak’s Speech to the ATBC AGM

Remarks by H.E. Busadee Santipitaks, Ambassador of Thailand to Australia at the Annual General Meeting Live Event of the Australia Thailand Business Council on Wednesday 2 December 2020.

Good Afternoon/ Good Evening, Mr. Doug Blunt, ATBC President,

คุณเกริกไกร จิระแพทย์, Honorary Advisor to the ATBC,

คุณ Marko Malivong, Guest Speaker,

ATBC members,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s a pleasure and honour to be invited as a Speaker at the Annual General Meeting of Australia-Thailand Business Council.

This year 2020 has been a challenging year for us all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I arrived in Australia at the end of February and faced lockdown from mid-March.

Since then, the Royal Thai Embassy and the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Sydney together with our Team Thailand agencies have been working with the relevant authorities in Canberra as well as the States and Territories in ensuring that we have continuous repatriation flights for Thais to return to Thailand and that stranded Australians in Thailand can also return home. We are also able to operate cargo flights to Australia in these arrangements.

We are indeed very fortunate to be in Australia which has been very successful in handling the spread of the COVID19 effectively.  Similarly, while Thailand has been recognized by WHO as one of the successful countries curbing the spread of the COVID19 in a whole-of-the-government approach as well as support from key players, such as the Village Health Volunteers, Thailand still maintains a cautious approach in balancing the health response and taking sustained economic recovery.

While we have not announced any travel bubbles, we have since July allowed eligible, limited and specific groups of Non-Thais who fulfill the necessary criteria to travel to Thailand. We certainly hope to welcome more Australians to Thailand whenever the travel restrictions are lifted and circumstances ready.

Prior to the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic in 2019, Thailand had a 2.4% GDP growth and welcomed almost 40 million tourists/travellers (39.8 million) to our country. However, in the 3rd quarter of 2020, Thailand’s economy has contracted by -6.4%. In particular, the tourism and hospitality industry has been hit very hard.

An initial forecast for Thailand’s economy in 2020 was expected to contract by 7.3–7.8%. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) has revised it to at -6%, due to increased private sector investment, better exports and manageable domestic issues.

Signs of visible growth in the Thai economy include expansion in the sectors of construction (7.4%), finance and insurance (1.7%), and media (1.7%) sectors.

Similarly, major international economic/financial agencies also forecast that Thailand’s economy will rebound in 2021. NESDC expects an overall forecast of Thailand’s GDP will be between 3.5–4.5%

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that Thailand’s GDP will increase by +4.0% next year, after a drop by -7.1% this year
  • The World Bank (WB) estimated Thailand’s GDP will grow by +4.1 % in 2021, after a decline by -5.0% this year.
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) projects that Thailand’s GDP will increase by +4.5 in 2021, after a -8.0 % decline this year.

Additional statistics show that Thailand is among the top countries with the highest COVID-19 recovery index, according to the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI).

  • 21st in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index (from 27th in 2019)
  • 44th in WIPO’s Global Innovation Index (from 43rd in 2019)
  • 57th in the UN’s E-Government Development Index
  • 29th in IMD’s World Competitiveness Ranking (25th in 2019).

In our efforts to revive the economy, we fully recognise the importance of private sector involvement in responding to COVID-19 situation by promoting sustainable cooperation on basis of “3Rs” and this was delivered by our PM at
the recent ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council:

  • The first “R” is “Responsiveness”. This means promptly responding to economic impacts, particularly the logistics of goods distribution as well as for producers and exporters in the supply chain. This should also include regular and interactive discussions, exchanges of information and proactive collaboration between ASEAN counterparts.
  • The second “R” is “Recovery”. This refers to strong economic recovery. It also means focusing on maintaining open markets for trade and investment through promoting the full utilisation of existing FTAs (13 FTAs with 18 different nations), and also further exploring opportunities to negotiate free trade agreements with countries that hold potential, such as through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
  • The third “R” is “Resilience“. This refers to the ability to respond to future public health emergencies. This is to be nurtured through hastening of development of digital economy and e-commerce, as well as benefiting from digital economy for industrial production and trade facilitation.

These steps will help to ensure that the supply and value chains will be strong and sustainable.

Just a few words on how Thailand is handling the COVID19 situation in Thailand and why there will be more opportunities for greater economic engagement and increased business activities. In balancing public health security with promoting economic activities, the Royal Thai Government has launched the “Stop COVID, not the Thai economy” policy.

In the past few months, Thailand has implemented economic measures worth 100 billion AUD, equivalent to approximately 12% of our GDP. Economic relief packages include wide-ranging monetary and fiscal measures including soft loans, debt moratoriums, cash handouts as well as extension of tax filing deadlines.

Apart from preventing the spread of COVID-19, Thailand has focused our priority on developing domestic vaccine production. The relevant stakeholders, including government agencies, the private sector, and research centre are partnering up to develop potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Thailand is also working with other partners to secure safe and effective vaccines which should be available as a public good. Most recently, on 27 November, Thailand has entered into an agreement with AstraZeneca on COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing for Thailand. This will help us to secure 26 million doses by mid-2021. It is an important factor towards economic recovery.

Despite COVID19, our bilateral relations continue to grow. Thailand and Australia still remain the leading trade partner of one another, with a total trade value of nearly 20 billion AUD in 2019. Trade between Thailand and Australia has not been greatly affected.  The trade volume up till October is at about 15 billion AUD. It is estimated that by the end of this year the bilateral trade volume will be 2-3% less than that of the previous year.

A very important step that will help us towards regional economic recovery, is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was recently signed by 15 Leaders, including Thailand and Australia. It is one of the largest trade agreements, encompassing one-third of the world population and 30% of the world GDP. RCEP will further bolster economic cooperation in terms of trade facilitation, e-commerce support platform and fair competition for SMEs.

Most recently, an important step in our bilateral relations is that on 13 November 2020, H.E. Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand and The Honourable Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia signed a Joint Declaration in elevating our bilateral relations to a Strategic Partnership.

While the Strategic Partnership is wide ranging in the areas of collaboration such as political and security, economic engagement, sectoral collaboration and people-to-people ties, it will also provide a roadmap for us to intensify our engagement in focused sectors.

The next steps will be for officials in Thailand and Australia to formulate a Joint Plan of Action, in key priority areas, including economic cooperation on digital economy, health services, education services, tourism and agriculture.

As a result of COVID19, another priority area of focus is addressing problems relating to supply chain disruption, including logistics transportation disruption. Thailand therefore sees the relevance of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) located in Rayong-Chonburi-Chachoengsao provinces in Thailand. The EEC strategy is to focus on connectivity and focused technology and industries, and innovation.

It is also at the centre of connectivity through multi-modal transportation development, including high-speed rail, double track rail, 2 deep seaports in Chonburi and Rayong and a new U-Tapao international airport.

The EEC has targeted technologies and industries that will be more relevant in post COVID-19 focussing on digital, healthcare and logistics:

(1) Digital and Emerging Technologies – with 5 G network expected to cover the EEC area by 2021, it will transform manufacturing production into “Smart Factory” and support the growth of e- commerce in the region. There are plans to develop the EECi (Innovation).

(2) Health and Wellbeing –the EEC will optimise Thailand’s strength in medical, food and agriculture sectors through R&D in flagship projects such as “Genomics Thailand” for biomedicine research and “Food Innopolis” for food innovation.

 (3) Smart Logistics – the development of EEC’s logistics industries will be centered around the U-Tapao International Airport and Aerotropolis, which will support greater flow of trade and investment and growing e-commerce.

The responsible public agency for the EEC is the Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (www.eeco.or.th)

In addition, the Board of Investment of Thailand whose representative Office is in Sydney has also launched a “Thailand Plus Package”. It is aimed at accelerating investment in large projects and focuses on high technology.

Eligible projects whose value of investment exceeds 22 million AUD (500 million baht) in 2020 and 44 million AUD (1 billion baht) in 2021 (excluding cost of land and working capital), may get 5-8 years of corporate income tax exemption.

Lastly, I would like to introduce you to explore and do business online with Thailand through the following digital platforms, put up by the Ministry of Commerce and Thailand Trade Office Sydney. They are:

  • thaitrade.com: the national b2b marketplace to connect Thai exporters with international buyers around the world;
  • stayinstylebangkok.com: all in one for lifestyle product,
    it is an excellent platform for buyers and distributors to meet with leading producers of trendy lifestyle products and explore the opportunity for business matching.

If you are interested in Thai products and wish to join the business talk sessions and meet with other Thai exporters, or if you have any queries, please contact the Thai Trade Centre, Sydney at thaitradesydney@gmail.com

Thank you.

Thailand Investment Review – September 2020

Download the Thailand Investment Review for September 2020.

Facilitated by easier access to high-speed internet, the rise of Thailand’s vibrant digital industry over recent years has been underpinned by the rich creativity and strong entrepreneurial spirit of Thailand’s tech-savvy digital generation. At the forefront of this brave new digital world, Thailand has seen its economy consistently prove its readiness to embrace the new  opportunities presented by the global digital revolution.

TIR – September 2020.pdf

Courtesy of the Thailand Board of Investment.

ATBC welcomes strategic partnership with Thailand

In a press release from the Australian Embassy Thailand, PM Scott Morrison said:

“Australia has a longstanding friendship with Thailand, stretching back to the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1952.

Today, with my Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, I have elevated our relationship to that of a Strategic Partnership.

In view of the evolving strategic shifts in the region, through this Strategic Partnership we will enhance cooperation in key areas, including defence and security, cyber affairs, anti-money laundering and combating transnational crime.

This historic announcement delivers on a joint commitment that Prime Minister Prayut and I made at the East Asia Summit last year in Bangkok.”

Read the full press release here.

Read the Thai version here.

Australia’s International Commercial Engagement 2019

“With the disruption and rethinking prompted by the Covid-19 Virus, Australia’s commercial linkage with the global community will be significantly changed, and how that change will evolve, and what the end result will be, is not yet clear…”

This article by Glen Robinson explores cross-border investmentand its increasing significance on the global stage.

You can read the full article here:

https://www.asiancenturyinstitute.com/economy/1640-australia-s-international-commercial-engagement-2019

About the author – Glen Robinson

Glen Robinson has spent the last 30+ years focussing on the establishment and development of cross border commercial alliances, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, particularly in the manufacturing, processing and distribution areas across the ASEAN region. These corporate advisory activities are based on many years’ experience in management consultancy, and he has worked with a wide range of industries from agriculture, government through to manufacturing, distribution and service industries. He initially gained his Asian experience as chief executive officer for the Asian subsidiaries and joint ventures of a major international manufacturing and marketing organisation. Glen has sat on the board of many Asian related business organisations and has for many years advised a number of Foreign Investment Boards in the Asian region. This article is published with the permission of both Glen and the Asian Century Institute.

Thailand Investment Review – February and March 2020

Download the Thailand Investment Review for February and March 2020.

February

After years of anticipation, the era of the Internet of Things (IoT) has arrived. Real products and services are accessible to not only the industrial sector, but also to end consumers. Products such as smart fridges, smart watches, health trackers, smart bike locks, and even a smart yoga mat, have become common in just a few years.

Download TIR – February 2020

March

Thailand’s new digital innovation precinct, Digital Park Thailand, is set to accelerate the countries’ economic and social transformation. The project, also known as the Eastern Economic Corridor of Digital (EECd), has tremendous potential for investors to tap into emerging opportunities offered by the kingdom’s transformation to “Thailand 4.0”.

Download TIR – March 2020

Courtesy of the Thailand Board of Investment.

MOU signed with the Australian Institute of International Affairs

The Australia Thailand Business Council is pleased to announce that is has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian Institute of International Affairs NSW (AIIA). The MOU will strengthen cooperation between the two organisations, and provide a framework under which the parties can work collaboratively to advance their respective and shared objectives. This will include but is not limited to:

  • Attending both ATBC and AIIA events;
  • Cross promotional opportunities;
  • Co-hosting events; and
  • Exchanging non-confidential information on government policy, trade, and investment opportunities with respect to Thailand, Australia and other ASEAN nations.

About the AIIA

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) is an independent, non-profit organisation promoting interest in and understanding of international affairs in Australia, including politics, economics and international law.

The AIIA consists of a number of independent branches, which are located in seven Australian states and territories, and a National Office in Canberra. In addition, close contact is maintained with the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, and with sister institutes and similarly minded organisations around the world.

It provides a forum for discussion and debate, but does not seek to formulate its own institutional views. The institute arranges programs of lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences and other discussions, and sponsors research and publications.

The AIIA was formed in 1924 and established as a federal body in 1933 and is the only nationwide organisation of its kind in Australia. It is financed by members’ contributions, tax deductible donations from individuals and businesses, and a small government subvention to the National Office.

You can read more about the AIIA here: http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/about-us/about-the-aiia/

Doug Blunt, President of the ATBC, said “On behalf of the ATBC, its members and friends, we are delighted to enter in to this MOU. Much like the MOU with our sister organisation AustCham in Thailand, this will give the ATBC a great platform to work collectively and progressively with the AIIA on areas of mutual interest.

The AIIA is nearly a century old and has an outstanding record of promoting informed sensible debate on matters of international importance and public policy for generations. This has never been more important as the entire globe grapples to adjust to the new Coronavirus world, and the ramifications on communities and economies once the pandemic begins to ease. We welcome this MOU, and the ATBC will strive to be a good partner and a good friend to the AIIA. In particular, I would like to thank one of my Board members, Glen Robinson, for all his hard work in helping secure this excellent outcome,” he said.

Ian Lincoln, President of the AIIA in New South Wales, welcomed the finalisation of the MOU with the ATBC and endorsed Doug Blunt’s thanks to Glen Robinson, who is also a Councillor of AIIA NSW. He said:

“Australia has a long, close and mutually-beneficial relationship with Thailand. We are strategic allies, we have extensive people-to-people relations and we have developed a productive and growing economic relationship with Thailand. The role of the business communities in each country has been fundamental to this success. We at AIIA NSW warmly welcome the opportunity to contribute to this relationship and to the work of the ATBC.

Our role is centred on providing insights into political and economic developments in the international community, including Thailand and its South East Asian neighbours. We hope that this can be of value to the business community in the process of assessing the business environment and the wider prospects of one of the region’s most successful economies.”

Doug Blunt
President
ATBC