Thailand’s strategic location in the heart of ASEAN connected with the fast-growing Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) countries makes it an ideal location for businesses and business investors.
Through its investment friendly policies the government of Thailand hopes to reap its advantage as a prominent hub linking the countries in mainland Southeast Asia, or CLMVT (namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) and ACMECS (Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy), a political, economic, and cultural organization among Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Additionally, the powerhouse economies of nearby China and India are also easily reachable from Thailand by virtue of its world-class transport infrastructure, which further provides great opportunities for cross-border trade and investment.
Thailand has announced its interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). These major trading blocs should provide enterprises in Thailand with greatly increased overseas market opportunities once they come into effect.
On November 4, 2019, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-Cha, chaired the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit during the 35th ASEAN Summit. The meeting was attended by ASEAN leaders and leaders from Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The RCEP could potentially include more than 3 billion people, up to 45% of the world’s population, with combined GDP of about US$21.3TN, accounting for about 40% of world trade. Thailand will be the first to ratify the RCEP in 2021.
Featuring an open economy with liberal economic policies, Thailand participates in a large number of bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), as well as the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA). This allows businesses in Thailand to engage in virtually tariff-free trade with 17 different nations.
Thailand is expected to resume talks on an EU-Thailand FTA as well as bilateral trade agreement with Japan, given the Japanese governments increasing oncern that its economic influence in Thailand may be overtaken amid rising Chinese investment.
Sumit Dutta is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ASEAN Business Partners. Prior to this, Sumit spent 26 years working for HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the world, in countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, USA, Hongkong and India.
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