The hot season is definitely upon us and I am looking forward to the much anticipated rain that should soon be here, as I am sure you are.
A big thank you to all of those who attended the Governors Ball on April 23. Close to 500 members and guest attended the gala event and from what I could see everyone seemed to be having a great time. This year’s theme was looking back over the past 60 years of U. S business in Thailand as we are celebrating six decades since the Chamber was founded in 1956. Guests enjoyed the colorful theme, lively music from Danny California Blues AllStars, a decadent gourmet meal, non- stop cocktails from Diageo Moet Hennessy, and a Silent Auction with more than 120 prizes up for bid. We are still tallying the final results of the auction, but it looks like the Silent Auction raised approximately Baht 1.5 million for the AMCHAM Thailand Charitable Foundation to support educational programs in Thailand. The evening couldn’t have been a success without the support of the event partners, Silent Auction and raffle prize donors, and of course the AMCHAM staff who were resplendent in their theme costumes.
In the last edition of T- AB I announced that a number of new initiatives were underway to help support the Chamber’s advocacy programs. These included the formation of a Trade and Investment Committee, and re- invigorating the Gov- ernment Affairs Council. The Chamber has also engaged the support of an outside policy affairs firm, Woodmont International, to help lead these areas along with formulating a “Roadmap for Growth” for Thailand. This roadmap will contain policy recommendations to promote confidence, investment and job creation in Thailand and will focus on a number of key areas including:
Embrace reform policies that support free markets and free enterprise
• Review the Foreign Business Act and liberalize the services sector;
- Reform regulations that limit the ability of foreign companies to invest in areas such as financial services and land transportation; Liberalize the services sector and lift the prohibition on foreign professionals in such service sectors as law, accounting, architecture, and engineering; - Equal treatment for all companies – foreign and Thai – in government procurement opportunities;
• Reform the Customs and Excise Law to bring them in line with international standards and best practices; and
Integrate Immigration and Labor policies to make it easier for foreign business nationals to work and live in Thailand.
Take decisive action toward integrating Thailand’s economy with ASEAN and capitalizing on free trade agreement throughout the Asia- Pacific region
Institutionalize a public- private working group to advance Thailand’s joining the Trans- Pacific Partnership
Ensure the rule and stability of law and policy
• Reject corruption, promote political and legal stability, and actively engage the private sector;
- Strictly enforce Intellectual Property laws and regulations; - Implement stringent anti- corruption measures and increase transparency in all areas of business and government procurement; Institute regular consultations between key ministries and foreign business associations; - Provide sufficient notice of public hearings and seek feed
back from private sector on draft legislation.
Invest in building a modern and diversified economy
• Take bold action on education and infrastructure to provide a foundation for a 21st century economy; - Make significant improvements in education, vocational training, and compulsory English language studies in public schools; - Commence the infrastructure investment to update
highways, rail and ports; - Support policies that would make Thailand a best in
class digital economy.
You should be seeing more about the Roadmap shortly. I encourage members who wish to be involved in contributing towards these policy initiatives to contact the AMCHAM Executive Director.