Thailand needs to catch up

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Editor;

Re: Thailand falls to 49th on World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking (PM June 20, 2016) – I object in a way to this headline because “Thailand” has not fallen. Other countries are just reforming faster, using the Internet better and learning English faster. Thailand needs to look to this and reform herself. Start with asking yourself a question, “How can I be an attractive place for someone else to invest their money?”

Educate your working class population. Stop stalling about it and masking outside reality in “Thainess” and culture and insure that children know practical skills, geography and fair business practice at an early age.

Learn English (you are giving children one hour a week of English instruction in most public schools and the kids are not learning anything), including store signage (it can be smaller in English) on stores and highways and throughout and clearly interpret all rules and regulations of doing business in standard English so that a foreign company is on an equal footing.

Make a contract written in English equally binding as a contract written in Thai.

Just look at the Internet alone. How much more information Thai people would have in the English language. Information, rather than “who is your daddy?” will unleash competition.

Cease penalizing companies for manufacturing here. Toyota just pulled the Prius from production in Thailand because it was not assembled using enough Thai made parts and was going to have a huge bump in price due to taxation (that retards employment). Your largest car and truck manufacturer who meets this hurdle in all their other cars? Is this even remotely wise and does it bring Thailand good will and loyalty? Toyota will be able to sell many of this car model in other countries thrilled to buy them, waiting for them and eager to obtain them. When you lack the technology to supply more parts for something you do not penalize the company that has the technology.

End all taxation of imports from every country (unless you wish to admit you have inefficient domestic producers) and with it the various individuals with too much say in how much something imported costs. They will lose their power to corrupt the market. Prices will be lower on components used to manufacture in Thailand. Foreign owners, workers and their families will have familiar foods and beverages and not be charged more for them than in their home countries.

A foreign multinational company. It should buy land, operate a factory, employ Thai nationals, pay their social security and employment taxes and all appropriate taxes any Thai owned company would (or might) pay and not have to literally give away a portion of ownership to well-connected Thai nationals. (Or should I call them Thai “partners”?) And then, when I make a profit, I can repatriate whatever portion of it I choose to the home company base without having to pay Thai “board of directors” a cut for doing little or nothing, or Thai banks an inordinate commission for a computer click. The current system is enriching a few at the cost of “the many.” The many could be employed in a better job if the playing field were flat rather than always uphill.

Much of the corruption the government speaks of will solve itself by having a broader middle class of people. People who have been taught that they are facing a competitive future.

If any foreign national (Japanese, Chinese, anyone) wants to buy a house he or she should do so freehold and be able to leave it to their foreign or Thai next of kin if they choose. Obvious incentive for a business owner or retiree, but prohibited. This ownership leads to construction employment does it not? That leads to more social security spending, more VAT income and more economic activity.

To implement all this would take time, particularly on the English language lag we are suffering from, but shoulder to the wheel in ten years a great improvement could be made here… or the country will totally lose out to India, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam for parts of the above mentioned reasons.

Think of means by which foreign investment will want to come to Thailand.

Kop khun khrup!

Robert