U. S. Busi­ness in Thailand More Op­ti­mistic About In­creased Prof­its

Novem­ber 25

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Front Page -

U. S. com­pa­nies re­main gen­er­ally op­ti­mistic about busi­ness prospects in the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions ( ASEAN), even in the face of global eco­nomic head­winds and chal­lenges, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual ASEAN Busi­ness Out­look Sur­vey re­leased by the U. S. Chamber of Com­merce and the Amer­i­can Cham­bers of Com­merce in ASEAN mem­ber coun­tries. In a poll of se­nior ex­ec­u­tives rep­re­sent­ing U. S. com­pa­nies in all 10 ASEAN coun­tries, 78% ex­pect their prof­its to in­crease in 2017, with more than half ( 53%) re­port­ing that ASEAN mar­kets have be­come more im­por­tant for their com­pa­nies’ global bot­tom line. Close to half of the sur­veyed com­pa­nies ( 49%) ex­pect to in­crease their ASEAN work­force by the end of 2016. The over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents ( 87%) ex­pect that their com­pa­nies’ level of trade and in­vest­ment in ASEAN will in­crease over the next 5 years.

In Thailand, seven in ten ex­ec­u­tives ex­pect prof­its in the re­gion to in­crease in 2017, up from five in ten ex­ec­u­tives who were op­ti­mistic about in­creased prof­its in last year’s sur­vey. In a wor­ry­ing trend how­ever, 35% of re­spon­dents de­scribed the over­all in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment in the coun­try as de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. By con­trast, a sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity of those sur­veyed in Cam­bo­dia ( 65%), Myan­mar ( 70%), Philip­pines ( 77%), and Viet­nam ( 72%) char­ac­ter­ize the in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment in their re­spec­tive coun­tries as im­prov­ing. Re­spon­dents in Thailand iden­tify cor­rup­tion, lo­cal pro­tec­tion­ism, lack of sta­ble gov­ern­ment and po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, and the dif­fi­culty of mov­ing goods through Cus­toms as the big­gest im­ped­i­ments to do­ing busi­ness in Thailand.

“The Royal Thai Gov­ern­ment un­der­stands that due to re­gional de­vel­op­ment trends and global free trade agree­ments the re­gion is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive, and has con­se­quently made ef­forts to im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. The Gov­ern­ment’s mea­sures and strate­gies range from pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives for re­gional head­quar­ters and start- ups to de­vel­op­ing the coun­try’s dig­i­tal econ­omy.” said Brad Mid­dle­ton, AMCHAM Thailand’s Pres­i­dent. “We ap­plaud these mea­sures and urge the Gov­ern­ment to do more to stim­u­late the econ­omy and en­cour­age in­vest­ment, such as re­lax visa rules, im­prove pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, and syn­chro­nize cus­toms rules with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices.”

In Myan­mar, 91% of ex­ec­u­tives sur­veyed reported that they ex­pect prof­its in the re­gion to in­crease in 2017 and 96% an­tic­i­pate ex­pand­ing their op­er­a­tions. More­over, 70% of re­spon­dents say the over­all in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment in the coun­try is im­prov­ing. Con­se­quently, Myan­mar con­tin­ues to be a top three pri­or­ity mar­ket for fu­ture busi­ness ex­pan­sion along with Viet­nam and Indonesia. In con­tin­u­ing good news for the Myan­mar econ­omy, 87% of re­spon­dents an­tic­i­pate to ex­pand their work­force in the com­ing year. De­spite the over­whelm­ing op­ti­mism, ex­ec­u­tives point out a num­ber of fac­tors that im­pede the fur­ther growth of the Myan­mar econ­omy. A sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents iden­tify the avail­abil­ity of trained per­son­nel ( 83%), of­fice least costs ( 83%), in­fra­struc­ture ( 78%), laws and reg­u­la­tions ( 78%), hous­ing costs ( 78%), tax struc­ture ( 70%) and cor­rup­tion ( 70%) as se­ri­ous con­cerns for U. S. com­pa­nies in Myan­mar.

Amer­i­can ex­ec­u­tives in Thailand are of the opin­ion that in­creased po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and re­gional and global in­te­gra­tion will have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the ease of do­ing busi­ness in Thailand. 82% of those sur­veyed reported that the on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal stale­mate is af­fect­ing their busi­ness, while 83% be­lieve that Thailand should join the Trans- Pa­cific Part­ner­ship ( TPP).

This year’s ASEAN Busi­ness Out­look sur­vey in­cludes a new sec­tion that dis­cusses tal­ent sourc­ing and work­force de­vel­op­ment in ASEAN.

The sur­vey finds that the at­tributes most val­ued by U. S. busi­nesses in ASEAN are cre­ativ­ity, an­a­lyt­i­cal prob­lem­solv­ing, tech­ni­cal skills, and ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The most de­sir­able qual­i­ties for em­ploy­ers in Thailand are man­age­ment and lead­er­ship, for­eign lan­guage pro­fi­ciency, and sales and marketing skills. The full re­port can be ac­cessed on AMCHAM’S web­site.

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