Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Thai economy is on track to expand 3.9% this year after posting a modest 1% growth in 2021 as consumption and business activities return to pre-pandemic levels, according to the World Bank.
The Southeast Asian economy has come a long way since contracting 6.1% at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, thanks to the government’s initiatives to bolster economic growth by encouraging domestic consumption, supporting local entrepreneurs and promoting exports.
With the policies in place, the twin pillars of the economy: domestic consumption and exports are poised for even higher growth. Exports are predicted to grow by at least 5% this year, while private investments will likely increase between 4% and 6%, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
“We are promoting the consumption of Thai products to build confidence and also to encourage the use of our products as raw materials to create added value,” says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit, adding that Thailand will be focusing on programs that have already proven themselves successful.
The government is also bolstering the new economy by promoting and developing online marketing platforms. “We are developing entrepreneurs to take advantage of the platform economy and online commerce,” Jurin says.
To stimulate innovation and encourage younger generations to become involved in the economy, “we will continue our initiative on human resource development for students to build more entrepreneurs,” says Jurin. “One of our programs, from Gen Z to CEO, focuses on helping the youth become entrepreneurs. In 2021 we had 20,000 participants and we aim to have another 20,000 this year.”
To build sustainable growth, the government is promoting environment friendly economic development using the bio-circular green (BCG) economic model, which leverages technology and innovation to add value to goods and services while mitigating negative environmental and sustainability impacts. The BCG model will be applied in agriculture and food; health and medical; energy, materials and biochemicals; as well as tourism and creative economy.
Thailand will apply the bio-circular green (BCG) economic model in agriculture and food; health and medical; energy, materials and biochemicals; as well as tourism and creative economy.
To support exports, Thailand will foster closer cooperation with members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. “We look forward to closer cooperation with APEC member countries as Thailand will host APEC this year,” Jurin says. “We are also redoubling efforts to expedite trade between Thailand and other markets, including China, the US, the EU, countries in the Middle East and Russia.”
In addition to bilateral trade agreements, “we will also be working on more sub-country trade agreements,” says Jurin. Thailand will continue to forge trade agreements with markets in state, provincial or regional areas instead of whole countries. After signing sub-country trade deals with Hainan, China and Kofu, Japan last year, Thailand plans to seal similar accords with other localities in China and India.