AMCHAM Meeting with Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs

AMCHAM Meeting with Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs

On September 24, AMCHAM Executive Director, Heidi Gallant, was joined by Platinum AMCHAM members, Tibor Pandi, Alex Yelland, and John Brown, to meet with H.E. Dr. Kobsak Pootrakool, Deputy Secretary-General to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs. The meeting was arranged to discuss the new administration’s policy priorities as well as ease of doing business and possible AMCHAM involvement.

After introducing the delegation, Heidi congratulated Dr. Kobsak on his portfolio with the new government and expressed AMCHAM’s desire to continue working with him and his team. The TM-30 and 90-day reporting were discussed and Dr. Kobsak stated that the mobile application will be more convenient for all. This system has already been utilized in other countries.  A onetime permanent QR code will be designated and uploaded to the mobile phone. The timeline of this implementation is within the next 3 months.  Dr. Kobsak stated that most people love to be in Thailand and he wants them to feel welcome.

The delegation also discussed the Regulatory Guillotine project. The research work for the project has been completed and the Thai government is looking to remove or amend 5 procedures a month or 60 procedures a year, in order to further the ease of doing business in Thailand. Dr. Kobsak welcomed AMCHAM to suggest issues that should be made priority and stated that his team will further consult with AMCHAM to move this project forward.

Focus was then shifted to the SMART Visa program. AMCHAM expressed appreciation for the visa but said that it can be difficult to obtain, especially for those already in country. The requirement for assessment normally takes a long time. Dr Kobsak agreed that his team will further discuss with AMCHAM on this matter. This brought the discussion to the digitalization of agencies like DEPA. Many AMCHAM member companies are excellent role models for this and John Brown, CEO of Agoda, said that Agoda stands ready to cooperate with the Thai government in this process. Tibor Pandi, Country Head and Citi Country Officer, added that banks are leaders in digitalization and also offered Citi’s services for digital transition.

Dr. Kobsak discussed the Thailand Plus initiative, a new foreign investment package that was recently approved by the Economic Cabinet. Thailand Plus, in addition to the SMART visa and the reporting app, is another way to incentivize businesses to further invest in the Kingdom. A special 6-month visa and work permit are also being designed for Startups and Digital Nomads to offer a legal pathway for employment. Heidi stated that AMCHAM is prepared to provide consultation and necessary input in this area.

Before presenting the  AMCHAM White Paper (which can be found here) to Dr. Kobsak, the delegation spoke on upcoming collaborative efforts. Heidi spoke on the Indo-Pacific Business forum as an excellent time to showcase Thailand’s investment opportunities. Dr. Kobsak expressed interest in bringing new investment to Thailand while also keeping long term investors, like Chevron, satisfied. Alex Yelland, Corporate Affairs Leader for Chevron, said that Chevron will continue to operate in Thailand, and they are committed to encouraging STEM training with their employees, enhancing skills and therefore making a strong impact on further economic development.

AMCHAM expressed its gratitude in continuing the cooperative partnership with the Thai government and the private sector.

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