Thailand — the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia — is seeking new partners for a sustainable future.
Similar to Korea, the country has been striving to reform its economy and strengthen its competitiveness amid slowing global growth.
“These challenges also present us with opportunities to work together, to reach new heights in our cooperation,” Thai Ambassador Sarun Charoensuwan said
in a speech at a seminar titled “Thailand: Moving Forward Toward Sustainable Growth” on March. 24. “Thailand is eager and ready to do more with Korea.”
Over 300 Korean companies operate in Thailand, covering manufacturing, sales, logistics, services, cosmetics, ICT and food and beverages. Bilateral economic cooperation has remained relatively low over the years, recording $11.2 billion last year.
According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Korean investment in Thailand has been relatively weak, due to the strong presence of Japanese firms, Korea’s preference of Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar, the perception of Thailand mainly as a tourism destination, the lack of symbolic projects and the absence of Korean banks.
Thai Minister of Industry Atchaka Sibunruang noted that her country — in line with its 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan — aims to avoid the “middle-income trap.” The plan covers shoring up the services sector; incorporating globalization into regional development; reducing socioeconomic inequality; preparing for an aging society; investing in new technologies; foster green growth; and improving bureaucratic efficiency.