Thailand’s Role in Asian Economy


Thailand is one of the fastest developing countries in Southeast Asia. It is preferred by businessman and retirees from Europe, particularly the UK, as an investment hub. Despite drastic changes in political leadership in the past decade, Thailand’s economy remains stable and is, in fact, still growing.

This is all thanks to the various businesses and industries in the country that remains open to foreign investment. With a business environment that is conducive to foreign investment, Thailand’s economy benefits greatly from the amount of foreign investment and expenditure that pours into its industries, particularly the tourism sector.

It is without doubt that Thailand plays an important role in Southeast Asian economy, or even the Asian economy in general.

Thailand is a Founding Member of the AEC

The Asian Economic Community is an economic alliance intended to foster cooperation and bilateral relations between members of ASEAN community. Thailand is at the forefront of its initiative, and has in fact started different cooperation frameworks with various countries in the region.

Contributions to AEC Initiatives

Thailand is a major contributor to the ACMECS initiative with the AEC. The ACMECS initiative aims to promote assistance in development in the fields of industrial, energy and agricultural cooperation. ACMECS also encourages cooperation in developing human resource potential in the participating countries, namely, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. Thailand has already invested a total of THB10 million to the effort.

The country has also inked an agreement with Indonesia and Malaysia that aims to promote inter-country tourism, as well as provide a framework for cooperation in investment, infrastructure and transportation systems between the three nations. Thailand has committed itself to developing its southern areas as agreed by the three countries.

Thailand also participates in the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Sub-Region initiatives. Just like the ACMECS initiative, Thailand has invested, through the ADB, a considerable amount of money for the development of human resources. The GMS framework has been signed by Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Southern China PRC. The initiative has been established since 1882 under the leadership of the ADB, and cover nine areas of cooperation between the signatories.

Upcoming AEC Hub

The country is currently undergoing a major infrastructural development, spearheaded by the current military government ruling the country. A seven-year plan was approved by the junta at the second quarter of 2014.

This plan covers two phases. Phase one is the upgrading of the country’s current railway networks, but does not cover the development of high speed rails. Phase two is the linking of Thailand’s railway networks to that of neighboring countries in order to foster inter-country trade by rail. This is part of the country’s efforts towards developing itself as a major hub for the AEC by 2021.

As Thailand develops, the country will become a better destination for foreign investment. The completion of the 7-year-plan will bring with it a more robust economy for the country, with countless business opportunities and economic development pouring in.

Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff

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