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What’s wrong with Thailand?

Five ambassadors urged to open up Thailand to foreign skilled labour, cut red tape on foreign investment to allow Thailand to move in the top 10 of the World’s Bank’s ease of doing business index

Bahar Karaman

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Thailand has made very impressive gains in recent years in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, moving from 46th to 26th to 21st position in recent years.

But by implementing 10 measures, the Foreign Chambers Alliance (FCA) predicts Thailand could quickly move into the top 10 of the World Bank index.

The proposals are the outcome of consultation with Chambers of Commerce of four countries – Australia, Germany, Britain and the US – under the Foreign Chambers Alliance (FCA), U.S Ambassador DeSombre told press on Friday.

To build a ‘new economy’ – and break free from the middle-income trap – Thailand’s business environment should incentivise innovation, competition and transparency.

U.S Ambassador Michael George DeSombre

Simplify and digitise cross-border clearances

For example, as a special measure during the pandemic, the Thai Customs Department has permitted the use of electronic documents when importing goods under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. This interim measure helps importers, exporters and most importantly, Thai consumers, allowing goods to reach the Thai market quicker and more cheaply.

Simplify access for skilled labour

According to business communities, there are a number of further steps Thailand could take to streamline business practices and make Thailand an even more attractive destination for trade and investment.

Examples of such measures are moving government processes online, eliminating redundant regulations, simplifying access to visas, and improving the investment application process. The attached infographic represents in pictures each of the 10 measures in more detail.

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