Thai people have been urged to adjust themselves in the move toward the full implementation of the ASEAN Community in late 2015. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his national address, spoke about the importance of readiness for ASEAN integration and rapid changes in the world. In preparation for the ASEAN Community, he said, Thailand must strengthen its capacity on a sustainable basis and develop human resources in terms of education, employment, and language skills.
This will help cope with growing trade and investment and greater competition. It will also enable the country to keep pace with development in neighboring countries, the ASEAN region, and the world at large. Moreover, he said, large, medium-sized, and small businesses should adopt modern technology and support one another. They should also strengthen their networks, use more domestic raw materials, promote Thai wisdom, and create Thailand’s brands, so that they would be able to open up new markets and compete more effectively with other countries.
The Prime Minister explained that the Government would implement measures favorable for increasing trade and foreign investment. At the same time, efforts would be made to reduce trade and legal barriers, as well as make procedures less complicated. Appropriate incentives would be offered to investors, while national interests must be protected.
Thailand needs to work out long-term planning in order to move the country forward in the long run. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has instructed all provincial governors to prepare for the ASEAN Community. He said that the provinces that share borders with neighboring countries and are located in special economic zones must work with the private sector in developing infrastructure and market channels. The Government will establish special economic zones in five provinces by December 2014.
The five provinces include Tak, Mukdahan, Songkhla, Sa Kaeo, and Trat. More special economic zones will be established in 2015 and 2016 in such provinces as Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Nong Khai, and Nakhon Phanom. The special economic zones will boost Thailand’s border trade and prepare for the arrival of the ASEAN Community. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board has worked out strategies that will enable Thailand to be ready for the ASEAN Community. The strategies seek to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness and involve the development of quality of life, social protection, infrastructure and logistics, and human resources. They also seek to improve laws and regulations, create better understanding and awareness of ASEAN, enhance security, and increase potential for greater opportunities from ASEAN connectivity.