All government agencies in Thailand are actively preparing themselves for the realization of the ASEAN Community.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra stated that the Government will work out a master plan in mobilizing efforts to achieve ASEAN integration in 2015, so that the public and private sectors will move together in the same direction.
The Prime Minister made the statement on 26 July, when she chaired a workshop on Thailand’s preparations for the ASEAN Community. Members of the Cabinet and permanent secretaries of various ministries took part in the workshop, held at Santi Maitri Building in Government House.
At the workshop, each ministry presented its plan on the preparations and ways to move toward the ASEAN Community, based on the three pillars of ASEAN: the ASEAN Economic Community, the ASEAN Political-Security Community, and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
The Prime Minister said that the ASEAN issue had been included in the national agenda and that Thailand must be prepared for greater competition when ASEAN becomes a single market. She pointed out that, since Thailand is located in the center of Southeast Asia, it will play an important role in ASEAN connectivity and in serving as a gateway to the ASEAN region.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom cited the arrival of the ASEAN Community as both a challenge and an opportunity. One of Thailand’s strengths is that it has great potential for producing products and services of good quality. The country is rich in diverse agricultural raw materials and skilled labor, while its economic system is favorable to investment.
The Commerce Minister believed that Thai products and services would have easy access to the ASEAN market. Today ASEAN has become Thailand’s major market, and Thai exports to this market account for 25 percent of the country’s total exports. The progress of the ASEAN Economic Community and its role in the international arena will contribute to Thailand’s international trade.
However, the Commerce Minister said that Thailand needs to cope with its weaknesses and constraints in terms of economic, education, labor skill, and technology development. For instance, it should improve the economic structure for greater efficiency in production.
He stressed the need for the public and private sectors to work out plans and set guidelines for operations in the same direction, in order to benefit from ASEAN integration. He said that the Government would accelerate the construction of infrastructure to facilitate business operations and investment. At the same time, it would also implement certain measures to minimize impacts and tackle problems that might occur.