On June 21, AMCHAM participated in the fifth Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit, organized by Bloomberg, as a part of Thailand’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2019. To discuss challenges faced by ASEAN, the trade war upending global supply chains, China continuing its regional dominance, and whether ASEAN can rise to the occasion in the rapidly evolving and dynamic environment.
His Excellency Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, delivered the keynote speech- “the Future of Thailand and ASEAN”. He highlighted that Thailand has continued to demonstrate economic growth under the framework of the 20-Year National Strategy and the new Thai Government will continue implementing development policies for a sustainable future of the country. The government attaches high importance to facilitating and streamlining the process of approving investment proposals, including business regulations, to elevate Thailand’s competitiveness and ease of doing business ranking. The Easter Economic Corridor development will be accelerated to make it a hub of the region and the Sufficiency Economy philosophy continues to be an important tool in improving people’s lives and grassroots development.
As the current Chair of ASEAN, Thailand is looking to promote inclusive and sustainable growth in all respects –trade and infrastructure development, people’s welfare, seamless ASEAN and regional connectivity, industrial growth, tourism and embracing digital transformation with an aim to become the 4th largest economic block in the world by 2030.
Mr. Peter Haymond, Charge D’Affaires, US Embassy, Bangkok explained the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the three pillars of cooperation: economic, security, and governance. With trade tensions escalating between the United States and China, he emphasized on a deep relationship with China with co-operation on many fronts and the US’ s role in the Indo-Pacific Strategy, which focuses on constructive partnership. He spoke about the unmatched expertise that the US brings to the region, new tools to enhance cooperation and the focus on bilateral trade agreements to strengthen partnership throughout ASEAN.
The Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit covered all aspects driving ASEAN’s path towards shared economic and social prosperity and the need to prepare ASEAN for the changing global landscape and challenges such as climate change and embracing Industry 4.0 – investing in automation, innovations in the fintech industry (blockchain for banking) and harnessing human potential to rapidly respond to digital transformation.
Infrastructural development has become a cornerstone under the Belt & Road Initiative to enhance regional connectivity and mutual understanding. Thailand supports BRI with a view to accelerate more investment and trade opportunities in Thailand’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The EEC mega-projects are led by the Thai private sector, with financing mainly done through public-private partnerships. In planning the EEC, the objective was not just to build a highway but to build smart cities along it, with the goal to enhance commerce and spread prosperity in the land of smiles.
Tourism in the country also emerged as a major economic contributor with 65 million tourists in Thailand expected in 10 years time and a growing number of millennial tourists from Asia. A surge in tourism brings with it the opportunity to promote Bangkok as a preferred travel destination as well as prioritize eco-friendly tourism in the region.
The event was attended by global business leaders, influencers, policy and decision makers to strengthen cooperation and pave the way forward for sustainable development in the region.