The Thai Government is making a proactive move to open up new foreign markets, with an emphasis on four major groups.
In his televised national address on 27 February 2015 in the program “Return Happiness to the People,” the Prime Minister said that the first group comprises ASEAN countries and involves mainly border trade, service businesses, and the construction industry.
He said that Thailand needed to invest more and expand its networks in neighboring countries, as a way of distributing products and benefiting from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in those countries.
High potential and a medium level of economic development
The second group consists of the markets with high potential and a medium level of economic development. This group includes China, India, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and countries in the Middle East and Latin America.
The third group comprises markets with a high level of economic development, such as the United States, Japan, and countries in the European Union. The Prime Minister said that studies should be conducted on the demands of niche markets in this group, such as older persons, Hispanic people, conservationists, and health-conscious consumers.
The fourth group consists of the markets with a low level of economic development, such as countries in South Asia, Africa, and groups of islands from which Thailand has imported raw materials.
The Prime Minister said that members of the private sector would be allowed to join Thai delegations to explore trade and investment opportunities in these markets. He urged Thai diplomats to work harder in promoting relations and cooperation with foreign countries, as well.
Concerning foreign trade and investment, the Prime Minister said that the situation is improving; foreign investment projects worth more than one trillion baht applied for promotional privileges from the Board of Investment (BOI) in 2014.
Foreign investment will generate more employment and income. Under BOI’s new investment promotion strategies, foreign investment projects should transfer technology to Thai workers.
He said that Thai workers must develop their language and labor skills. In this regard, the education system must be improved. The Government would establish a “Super Board” to help revise laws and regulations for better quality of education and facilitate education management and reform.
Regarding Thai exports to major trading partners, the Prime Minister stated that signs of improvement have been seen. Thailand has also opened more border trade checkpoints, and Thai exports to neighboring countries through border trade were on the rise.
He stressed the need for the industrial sector and small and medium-sized enterprises to develop their products and services in order to enhance their competitiveness.