Developing Thai Agricultural and OTOP Products in Preparation for the ASEAN Community (11/04/2012)
All provincial governors have been urged to develop local agricultural and “One Tambon, One Product (OTOP)” goods in preparation for the realization of the ASEAN Community in the next three years.

In her recent meeting with the governors on provincial administrative policy, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told them to seek out prominent agricultural products in their respective areas for long-term development, with an emphasis on environment-friendly production.

The Prime Minister also called for enhancing the potential of OTOP products, so that they would become competitive in foreign markets, especially in the ASEAN region.

OTOP products have good potential for expansion in the ASEAN market, which will become a single community in 2015. If Thailand could expand the OTOP market to ASEAN countries, OTOP goods would be in the homes of 600 million people in ASEAN, instead of more than 60 million in Thailand.

In the program “Yingluck Government Meets the People” on April 7, the Prime Minister touched on the issue of her recent visit to Cambodia for the ASEAN leaders' retreat. She said that the establishment of the ASEAN Community would attract various trading partners to invest more in this region.
She said that Thailand supports the "Looking beyond ASEAN" ethos, so ASEAN members need to work together to expand the Community’s roles with serious external collaborations, whether it be on trade, politics and security, or other issues, such as cross-border crime, drugs, and money laundering.

According to the 2011-2012 ASEAN-Business Advisory Council Survey on ASEAN Competitiveness, the ASEAN region holds good prospects for attracting investments, and a significant share of businesses consider the investment attractiveness of ASEAN as a whole when planning their investments in ASEAN countries. In addition, businesses attach relatively high importance to ASEAN’s implementation of measures to achieve an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 but are relatively less satisfied with the grouping’s effectiveness in implementation.

The survey found that businesses continue to view the ASEAN region’s competitiveness for investments favorably. Eighty-eight percent of businesses planned to invest or increase investments in at least one ASEAN country from 2011 to 2014. The top investment destination was Indonesia, followed by Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Of all respondents, 36.5 percent indicated that ASEAN countries offer the best prospects worldwide for their organizations’ offshore direct investments over the next three years. ASEAN’s attractiveness was also rated higher than China’s, both as a market for goods and services and as a production location.

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