Thailand’s newly-appointed Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, announced a series of forward-looking measures aimed at solidifying Thailand's position as a leading destination for foreign investments. This includes the ambitious endeavor of expanding the nation's existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) portfolio.
Addressing a key forum today, Prime Minister Srettha shed light on his vision to upgrade infrastructure, enhance water management, elevate airport facilities to spur tourism, and streamline processes for foreign workforce employment within the nation.
Prime Minister Srettha emphasized, "Thailand stands ready to forge business alliances globally. The urgency to negotiate additional FTAs is palpable, particularly as we currently lag behind some neighbors, like Vietnam, in this domain."
Historically, Thailand's drive to establish more trade pacts with dominant markets encountered obstacles such as allegations concerning protectionism, challenges in migrant labor rights, and past political tumult.
Highlighting his administration’s neutral stance on foreign policy, Srettha mentioned that Thailand would not incline towards any specific major power like the U.S. or China. Instead, the focus will remain on countries like Japan, a time-honored and substantial investor in Thailand.
With the automobile sector being a cornerstone of Thailand's industrial landscape, Prime Minister Srettha revealed plans to attract electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers. At the same time, he reaffirmed commitment to the manufacturing of traditional vehicles, recognizing Japan's pivotal role in this industry for decades.
"We foresee Thailand playing a dual role: leading the charge in EV innovation while also serving as a bastion for traditional automobile manufacturing in its sunset years," stated Srettha.
He acknowledged the growing Chinese investment, with companies like BYD and Great Wall Motor making notable strides since 2020. This investment surge signals a transformative phase for Thailand’s auto sector, bridging Chinese EV suppliers with local Thai entities, some of which have deep-seated associations with Japanese corporations.
On the agricultural front, Prime Minister Srettha emphasized the importance of diversifying markets for Thai produce and assisting debt-ridden farmers. However, he clarified that fixed price guarantees, a hallmark of previous Pheu Thai administrations, would only be considered during crises.
Srettha's ascendancy to the helm of Thai leadership was facilitated by a surprising coalition between parties historically backed by the influential military and those aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The International Trade Council recognizes and supports the vision set forth by Prime Minister Srettha and looks forward to witnessing Thailand's growth in the global trade arena.