02
November
2019

Keynote Address by H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand

02
November
2019

Keynote Address by H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand

192

(Unofficial)

Keynote Address

by H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha,

Prime Minister of Thailand

 ASEAN Business & Investment Summit (ABIS) 2019

2 November 2019, Exhibition Hall 6

IMPACT Exhibition & Convention Center Muang Thong Thani,

Nonthaburi, Thailand

 

(Translation)

Distinguished guests,

I am very honored to be a part of today’s event, the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2019, which is hosted by the ASEAN-Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and the Ministry of Commerce with the support of the Thai private sector including the Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Thai Banker’s Association. “Empowering ASEAN 4.0” is the theme of ABIS 2019 as the event aims to find solutions and to equip people with the essential knowledge as well as to pave way for concrete actions in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) era.

Distinguished guests,

Under my leadership, the Thai government has pushed forth the Thailand 4.0 policy with the aim to transform the Thai economy into one that can cope with the onset of the 4IR. This involves transforming the Thai economy into a digital economy using the “new” business model which combines online and offline business. Thailand has already begun its digital transformation to improve the country’s macroeconomic and microeconomic activities. The adoption of innovation is a crucial part the development of Thai industries under the Thailand 4.0 policy to increase productivity as well as improve the value and supply chain to increase value of products. Moreover, I believe that innovation will be the key element in driving sustainable development in the 4IR.

To clearly illustrate Thailand’s efforts to transform the country, I would like to present some of Thailand’s development involving public and private partnerships.

On the security front, consultation with the private sector has been arrived at and there are shared concerns regarding non-traditional security issues including human security, energy security, and food security.  These non-traditional issues are sure to affect the social and economic development of the country. National security of all forms is necessary for sustainable development. Both the public and private sectors have the obligation to provide security for the people. I am of the view that in formulating policies on national security, it is vital to take into consideration economic and social factors.

On the economic front, the private and public partnership or PPP is the key mechanism in Thailand’s economic development. The promotion of the Eastern Economic Corridor or EEC and its four megaprojects; the U-Tapao International Airport, High-Speed Rail Linking 3 Airports, Laem Chabang Port Phase 3, and Map Ta Phut Industrial Port Phase 3 are exceptional examples of successful implementations of the PPP model. In addition to the megaprojects, PPP is improving the development of the targeted industries including robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), electric vehicles (EV), aviation, logistics, and high-tech medical equipment. Thailand is also implementing the BCG (Bio-Circular-Green) Model for sustainable development that takes into consideration the impact on the environment. Moreover, as Thailand is a country that is built on agriculture, it is important to use innovation to improve to add value to agricultural products.

On the social front, like many developed countries like Japan, Thailand is becoming an ageing society. The ageing demography reflects Thailand’s improvement of standards of living, well-being, and healthcare matching those of international standards. Although an ageing society poses challenges for the country, this change in demography also offers an opportunity for the development and adoption of innovative technologies. Furthermore, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) also play a crucial role in the development and facilitation of transportation and smart living in this ageing society. In addition to taking care of the elderly, we also need to create a workforce that is digitally literate to prepare for the increasingly digitalized economy.

Distinguished guests,

Such projects and developments would not have been possible without the cooperation of the private sector, particularly on the investment aspect.

In the 21st century world which is becoming seamlessly interconnected, it is important that every ASEAN country prepare for a “Digital ASEAN” by creating the necessary digital infrastructures, developing a digital-literate workforce, and supporting the private sector. E-Commerce has become a part of international trade which has led to the increased speed of production and distribution of products and services. Business owners have to rely on international networks to drive their businesses and make use of new technologies such as Big Data. Hence, digital platforms have become an important venue to advertise products to increase demands of consumers. In this regard, the government should play a supporting role to the private sector in finding ways and means to improve connectivity to facilitate trade in goods and services.

To enhance regional digital connectivity, Thailand looks toward regional economic cooperation frameworks namely ACMECS, RCEP, and GMS as well as free trade agreements such as RCEP. Multimodal connectivity between countries and key economic zones in Asia-Pacific via land, sea, or air should be the basis of cooperation in the region and especially among ASEAN Member States, Dialogue Partners, and Strategic Partners.

Distinguished guests,

The past discussion between governments and ASEAN-BAC have led to useful economic, trade and investment recommendations for  policy-makers to adjust their plans and strategies accordingly.

For instance, the establishment of the ASEAN Single Window would require the synchronization of laws and regulations for practical and pragmatic solutions. In addition, all stakeholders at all levels are required to adjust to the development of technology and innovation to drive the ASEAN Community to become a dynamic region and to adapt to the global economic landscape effectively. Furthermore, business conduct must take into consideration issues of human rights, environmental impact and corporate social responsibility.

I sincerely hope that our discussion will lead to valuable exchange of views and knowledge on the topic of ASEAN 4.0, global supply chain, access to financing of SMEs, and the development of ASEAN’s human capital. The outcome of ABIS 2019 will help ASEAN effectively cope with the rapidly changing technological and economic environment.

On this occasion, I would like to once again express my appreciation for ASEAN-BAC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for organizing this event. I wish you all a smooth and fruitful ABIS 2019 which will strengthen and rapidly drive ASEAN towards a sustainable digital community.

 

Thank you.

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Keynote Address by H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand