As politics and economy have become increasingly interwoven, analysts have voiced concerns that the domestic political situation will unavoidably drag down the national development, tripping the country off the global economic competition track. They encouraged that all sides should help draft plans to deal with the global changes in the next decade.
Former Vice Minister for Commerce Dr Suvit Maesincee stressed that the domestic political uncertainty was, in his view, the most important risk factor to drag down the national economy obstructing continuity of the trade and investment strategic formation. He hence suggested that the public, private and civil sectors should have important roles in pushing forward Thai trade strategies in order to cushion global changes in the next decade; otherwise, the Thai market’s share might be affected.
Echoing the viewpoint of the former vice minister, Thai Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairperson Chatchai Boonyarat recommended that the private sector should draft its own commercial and social development plan, as a way to reduce dependency on the government. Once drawn up, the plan should be proposed to political parties for use in their election campaigns.
In addition, according to Mr Chatchai, Thailand has an advantage in terms of strategic location in the middle of Southeast Asia with convenient links with other countries in the region. However, its strength has not developed practically and continuously due to political problems and frequent changes of governments over the past four to five years. Besides, the government has stability problems caused by coalition partners.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary for Commerce Yanyong Puangrach noted that his ministry was urgently drafting a 10-year development framework for the national economy both at the macro and micro levels. He said this would include amendment of related laws to facilitate concrete implementations in the public and private sectors in the long-term.
Thailand, at 38th position in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2010-2011, has fallen two places this year and 10 ranks since 2006, mainly because of the domestic turbulence.
According to the WEF, the assessment of public institutions – mainly the administration – continues to languish at 70th place among 139 countries, a drop of 30 places over the past four years, likely related to recent problems of social unrest and political instability in the country.
Thailand’s ranking is supported by the relatively large domestic and export markets (23rd), its transport infrastructure (23rd), the efficiency of its labour market (24th), and a relatively well-functioning goods market (41st). In addition, the country’s business environment is relatively sophisticated, with developed clusters (34th) and companies operating across the value chain.