EU paper outlines measures to boost business ties with Thailand

EU paper outlines measures to boost business ties with Thailand

The European Association for Business and Commerce (EABC) on Friday (November 29) called for enhanced competitiveness, further improvement of ease of doing business, and negotiation of an EU‐Thailand Free Trade Agreement.

Tht EABC said these factors were crucial to strengthen Thailand’s economy, support the Thailand 4.0 vision and bring about enhanced trade and investment for Thailand.

The launch of the 2019‐20 European Business Position Paper was held at the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel.

The paper “reflects the shared efforts from European business leaders in Thailand from a broad range of industries and policy areas to provide practical recommendations for Thailand to become a more competitive economy. It is a reference and guideline to develop enhanced policy for Thailand. There is no better proof of the commitment of EU businesses to Thailand,” Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola, EU Ambassador to Thailand, said in his opening remarks.

He noted the importance of defending the rules-based multilateral trading system as a powerful instrument to deliver on economic growth and social development.

Sansern Samalapa, Vice Minister of Commerce, delivered the keynote address and said, “this is an important opportunity to improve trade and investment between Thailand and the EU”.

He noted that closer economic ties between Thailand and the EU were vital for ensuring sustainable regional economic development.

Jan Eriksson, president of the EABC, commended the Thai government for its efforts in promoting trade and investment through carrying out various measures to enhance competitiveness and improveease of doing business.

He admitted, however, that in today’s highly competitive environment, investors looked for advantages beyond investment incentives, to ensure that their business would be competitive and profitable in the longer term and could be used as highly effective regional bases as needed. Ongoing reforms to support competitiveness and ease of doing business continued to be essential.

While investment incentives available in Thailand may have attraction in terms of tax benefits, some relaxation of foreign ownership limits, hiring of foreigners and importing equipment, they do not alleviate the general daily interactions with doing business nor address fundamental reforms, so further progress is needed.

He urged the Thai government to address a number of areas of competitiveness, including structural reform, services liberalisation, streamlining the regulatory frameworks for increased ease of doing business and to join the European Union in the EU‐Thailand FTAnegotiation to achieve and make it a meaningful differentiator.

The Position Paper reflects five key policy recommendations for Thailand:

1 General reduction of trade barriers in goods and services, non-tariff Barriers, non-tariff measures

2 Service sector liberalisation

3 Structural reforms (often deep) to achieve the major vision and goal of Thailand 4.0 in a reasonable time

4 Ease of doing business beyond the World Bank’s existing criteria, with new ways of quality law-making, digital government and heightened respect for the rule of law;

5 Engagement on EU‐Thailand FTA negotiations to achieve a meaningful differentiator.


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