Tipco Foods (Thailand) aims to increase the proportion of its sales made in Asean markets to 20 per cent in the next two to three years, up from the present 5 per cent because of the benefits of the Asean Free-Trade Agreement.
Managing director Viwat Limsakdakul said his company would increase the volume of its ready-to-drink juice and ingredient products to tap Asean markets because there was currently strong demand for them. The company’s clearer focus on Asean markets is in line with the benefits of Afta, he said. Although private investment has joined the rebound in Thai economy, the outlook remains weak relative to other demand
Key risks to the outlook are (i) political uncertainty and (ii) the timing of the withdrawal of fiscal and monetary stimulus. Increased political tensions may have a long-lasting impact on investment, and withdrawal of stimulus (in Thailand and the advanced economies) must be precisely timed to avoid macroeconomic imbalances (including new asset bubbles) while also ensuring that the recovery is on a sufficiently solid footing.
Thailand performs well compared to other countries in the region on many aspects of government regulations and regulatory procedures that facilitate business. According to the latest annual World Bank’s Doing Business report, in 2008 Thailand ranks 13th among over 180 countries and 4th in East Asia in the ease of doing business. The ease of doing business is measured by quantitative indicators of regulatory requirements and procedures in ten areas in the life cycle of typical small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the largest city in a country. They include, for example, the number days, steps, and cost needed to obtain business licenses, registering property, clear customs, pay taxes, and close a business. It only takes 2 steps and 2 days to register property in Thailand, on of the fastest in the world. Progress over the recent years has been particularly on the improvements in the customs process after the introduction of the internet-based customs clearance system, which has reduced the number of required documents and time taken to clear customs for exports.
Fiscal stimulus in China offset the decline in Thailand’s exports and is playing a role in the region’s rebound
The key risk to the global recovery lies in the need to get the timing of withdrawing fiscal and monetary stimulus just right. Withdrawal of fiscal stimulus too early may lead to another negative demand shock and a negative expectations spiral, whereas withdrawing the stimulus too late may lead to high inflation, further weakening of the US dollar, and possible asset price bubbles. In Thailand, for example, more than ten years since the 1997/1998 financial crisis banks still have bad loans in their books and the government still holds a large amount of debt related to the recapitalization of financial institutions. Given the expected length of recovery, it is important not to withdraw stimulus programs too soon, before the recovery is on a firm footing. On the other hand, macroeconomic imbalances are accumulating and eventually fiscal and monetary authorities, especially in the US, must consolidate their fiscal position and withdraw liquidity.