Bangkok, 17 September 2014 – Minister of Commerce H.E. Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya presided over the opening ceremony of the two-day YPO Insights ASEAN Summit at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, an initiative of the Young Presidents’ Organization’s Southeast Asia Chapter.
The Insights ASEAN Summit (IAS) features 67 industry magnates who are addressing an audience of 300 chief executives and prominent business leaders from around the region while providing insights on how to capitalize on the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. A series of discussion panels is on the program, designed to foster a deeper understanding of what the AEC entails and to offer actionable business insights for attendees.
H.E. Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya stated that this summit is a good opportunity for Thais and foreign investors within the region to come exchange knowledge and information, to identify new opportunities and how to prepare for challenges. It was also a chance for old friends to be reacquainted and provided an opportunity for people to network and develop new business relations.
The current government administration is hoping to improve the investment climate in Thailand through public-private partnership projects, specifically in construction, real estate and financial sectors. Thailand’s economy has expanded in the last quarter and the government says it is determined to try to help bring continued growth. The AEC will serve as an opportunity to increase the competitiveness in the region, but it is also an opportunity to promote and expand cross-border trade.
After H.E. Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya’s address, the opening keynote address titled “AEC Roadmap: Opportunities and Challenges” was delivered by Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of ASEAN.
Dr. Surin said that he believes that the pendulum of investment opportunities has now swung to Asia, and because of the coming ASEAN Economic Community Integration in 2015, countries are working on their infrastructure to benefit investors and the people. Thailand is investing 2.3 trillion baht in infrastructure projects alone, in order to create improved transit connections throughout the country and neighbouring countries.
Dr. Surin also expressed that SMEs are a major contributing factor to the growing economy, as SMEs make up 70-75% of the GDP, and there are 2 million SME businesses in Thailand. Dr. Surin urged investors to dare to take risks and go across borders, because that is what ASEAN integration is built for.
The Insights ASEAN Summit continues through 19 September.