The political unrest in the last quarter of 2009 will continue to dampen tourist confidence into at least the first half of 2010. In addition, the slowdown in growth of the economies from which a large number of tourists come to Thailand, such as EU and Japan, will reduce tourist receipts next year. With the slowdown in exports capacity utilization is expected to fall in Thailand. A clear exit strategy from the fiscal stimulus has yet to be articulated. Because part of the government’s capital budget has been moved off-budget as part of the stimulus package, some additional capital expenditures, as well as the maintenance expenditures of the newly-built infrastructure, must be incorporated into future budgets once the stimulus package is finalized.
Thailand enjoys a strategic location and serves as a gateway into the heart of Asia – home to what is today the largest growing economic market.
The country also offers convenient trade with China, India and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and easy access into the Greater Mekong sub-region, where newly emerging markets offer great business potential.
Thailand plans to be the Hub of ASEAN
Thailand was one of the founding members of ASEAN and has been instrumental in the formation and development of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
AFTA entered into force on 1 January 2010 for the six original ASEAN (ASEAN-6) members (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Brunei), thereby reducing import duties to zero; the so-called CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) will follow suit in 2015.
Thailand has forged close economic cooperation with other ASEAN member nations, and Thai manufactured products and services have access to their markets, which includes all 10 ASEAN countries. ASEAN is home to more than half a billion people, GDP in excess of US$1.5 trillion and total trade of well more than US$1 trillion per year.
Thailand’s geographical advantage favors transforming Thailand to be the energy hub of the region
The course of Thailand’s electricity industry development has set forth a goal of greater efficiency – both on the supply side and demand side. The aim is to ensure the optimization of energy resources and minimization of environmental impacts, with an ultimate goal of sustainable energy development. On the other hand, the industry has also had to properly adjust to economic and social changes as well as national energy policies and strategies over the past decades.
For some time, the government has encouraged more private participation in the electricity generation business in order to reduce the public investment burden and enhance greater competition in the industry.
In compliance with the national policy, EGAT established and listed the Electricity Generating Public Company Limited (EGCO), the country’s first independent power producer (IPP), in 1992 to mobilize funds from the stock market for its power investment, followed by the privatization of Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited (RATCH), EGAT’s subsidiary founded in 2000.