Former Deputy Prime Minister and President of Thai Trade Representatives Mr. Olan Chaiyaprawat said Thailand is a leading nation in terms of undergoing changes towards becoming part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to be in effect in 2015 despite concerns over the labor movement and the survival of SME businesses.
In the statement made during the seminar on the Thai economy in the AEC framework, organized by the Faculty of Economics, Rangsit University, Mr.Olan said, among other ASEAN nations, Thailand has been taking a lead role in making a transition to the economic integration.
According to Mr. Olan, the government already has a plan to support SMEs during the transition and it also focuses on providing information on banking, loans, raising education standards, and improving language skills.
He added that while those are on the agenda, the government is also trying to amend the law regulating foreigners doing business in the country allowing every member to operate under the same rules.
Meanwhile, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Rangsit University, Mr. Anusorn Thamjai said the AEC will give Thailand several advantages such as higher investments and employments. However, he said, Thailand still lacks a concrete plan to mitigate risks that are likely to cause skilled labor shortages in the country if no incentives are provided.
Mr. Anusorn predicted that the Thai economy will likely expand between 5.8-6.5% this year despite rising global oil prices. However, the inflationary rate may increase from 3.5 to 4.5%. He also cited political plight and financial policy as the two risk factors affecting the nation’s economic expansion.
Another factor is the global economy, given the debt problems of Spain and Italy, even though the overall European economy is improving. The Dean said the government needs to implement a policy that would allow greater financial stability for Thailand.