Revitalized economy is right on track
BRIGHT FUTURE THAILAND'S ECONOMY HAS SEEN A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF PRIME MINISTER THAKSIN SHINAWATRA, AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT BETWEEN THAILAND AND THE UNITED STATES ARE GROWING

THAKSIN SHINAWATRA
THAKSIN SHINAWATRA
Prime Minister of Thailand

WITH the economy forecast to grow by 5 percent for the second year in a row, exports up 20 percent in the first quarter, and foreign reserves standing at $40 billion, Thailand’s Prime Minister is able to announce with confidence, “We are on the right track.”

During his three years in office, Thaksin Shinawatra has launched a series of government initiatives to revitalize the Thai economy and put it on a sustainable footing. GDP growth has been driven by a combination of rising exports and domestic demand.

Trade between Thailand and the United States—its largest trading partner—has taken off, with U.S. exports to Thailand up 14 percent, and imports from Thailand up 7 percent.
When they met in June, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Thaksin reaffirmed the strength of the alliance between the United States and Thailand.

Thai and U.S. trade officials have recently been discussing a future bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), following the signing of a landmark U.S.-Singapore deal earlier this year.
This would make Thailand only the second Asian country to have an FTA with the United States, and would give a huge boost to its status as a portal for U.S. business in Southeast Asia.
Last year, Thailand and the United States signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to promote the liberalization of trade and investment.

Exports increased by 20 percent in the first quarter of the year


Development of economic infrastructure is a priority as Thailand works to achieve sustainable growth

In addition to their close economic ties, the two nations are working together to combat terrorism, crime, and drug trafficking, and have established a partnership in the areas of protection of intellectual property, science and technology, and the environment. President Bush has said the United States is actively considering Thailand’s designation as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA).

As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand is party to an agreement to establish a free trade area with China within ten years. It is also committed to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which aims to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers on cross-border transactions among ASEAN member countries. Discussions have been taking place to establish bilateral free trade deals with China, Japan, and India.

Prime Minister Thaksin has adopted a dual track strategy to secure Thailand’s economic future. The private sector has been encouraged to prosper, while wealth-creation is simultaneously encouraged at the grass roots level through government-assisted programs, including incentive schemes for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

PHINIJ JARUSOMBAT
PHINIJ JARUSOMBAT
Minister of Science and Technology
SOMSAK THEPSUTIN
SOMSAK THEPSUTIN
Minister of Industry

Agricultural exports are Thailand’s largest source of income, but SMEs are expected to make a key contribution to industrial development in Thailand. “Where we see weaknesses, we can strengthen the industrial sector by creating SMEs,” says Minister of Industry Somsak Thepsutin.
Development of Thailand’s economic infrastructure, such as logistics and transport, is being given high priority. Prime Minister Thaksin says that to sustain economic growth Thailand must reinvent itself as a knowledge-based economy and society in step with global trends.

Building on Thailand’s already impressive track record in scientific and technological development is a key aspect of the government’s strategy.
“Technology is the future of the nation,” says Phinij Jarusombat, Minister of Science and Technology. “No matter if it is agriculture, industry, entertainment, health, or the service sector, technology will give support to production.”

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