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Thailand urged to help firms expand in region

Publication Date : 09-08-2012


The government should support and promote Thai enterprises to expand their businesses regionally both before and after the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect in 2015, Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said yesterday.

"Building awareness among Thais and preparing suitable defensive measures to advance in the AEC is currently not enough, and the government must focus on building the capacity of Thai entrepreneurs who want to expand their business overseas," Surin told members of the Thai press during their media visit this week to the Asean secretariat in Jakarta.

The visit is part of a knowledge-enhancement programme for Thai journalists in reporting the news related to the AEC.

It has been organised by the Thai Journalists Association in association with Charoen Pokphand, more commonly known as CP, the country's largest agriculture-base conglomerate.

Surin said the Board of Investment should extend its current role of creating the suitable environment for attracting more international companies to set up in the Kingdom.

The agency should also provide tax incentives, financial support and other measures to local companies that want to expand their business overseas, especially within Asean, he said.

Meanwhile, the government should establish a special fund to promote and support small and medium-sized enterprises and young entrepreneurs to conduct surveys in potential Asean markets, and to set up operations in those countries, he said, adding that it should also encourage private banks to offer soft loans to such SMEs and individuals.

The Asean secretary-general said that thanks to globalisation's impact on all of business, a country like Thailand with its 65-million-strong population could not just sit back and expect its companies to enjoy healthy growth in the long run, as foreign newcomers would continue to enter the market and intensify the competitive environment.

The government must, therefore, change the mindset of Thai people, particularly in the business sector, and encourage them to seek opportunities in overseas markets, Surin said.


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