As we start the second quarter of 2017, the good news is it appears that Thailand’s economic outlook is expected to expand at a slightly faster pace than previously assessed due to stronger export growth, growing tourism numbers and projected public spending through the Royal Thai Government’s policies on public- private partnerships and the ongoing developments of the Eastern Economic Corridor ( EEC). This positive news was delivered at the April Business Economics Committee meeting where the Bank of Thailand provided an updated GDP growth projection of 3.4% for 2017.
Since the beginning of the year, the Royal Thai Government ( RTG) has been heavily engaged in promoting a number of the above key programs in addition to their vision of Thailand 4.0. AMCHAM has been reaching out to the RTG over the last several months to provide venues for our members to hear and learn more about the opportunities available through these programs. We were fortunate to hear from H. E. Dr. Suvit Maesincee, Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s office at the January monthly luncheon about Thailand 4.0 ( see last issue of T- AB Magazine). At the March luncheon, H. E. Dr. Uttama Savanayana, Minister of In- dustry, spoke about the plans for the EEC. The Chamber also participated in joint chambers luncheon at the end of April with the Dr. Porametee Vimolsiri, Secretary- General of the National Economic and Social Development Board ( NESDB), who described how these initiatives will be incorporated into Thailand’s proposed 20- year national development program.
The Chamber, of course, continues to work on smaller, but no less important issues to our members such as visas and immigration processes, and customs and excise. We are encouraged to hear that our continued work on reforming the Thai Customs laws has had some impact. The National Legislative Assembly approved proposed amendments to the Customs law on March 9 and the legislation is now pending the signature of H. M. the King. Once approved and signed, it will be announced in the Royal Gazette and come into force 180 days from the announcement. Reforms to the Customs law has been one of the major advocacy issues of AMCHAM ( and of a large part of Thailand’s foreign and local business community) over the last ten years. The new law provides significant relief to importers by reducing the penalties and rewards payable to customs officials for fines and placing a cap on penalties payable to officials. It also provides for a limit of five years on post- audit investigations – the previous law had no limitations.
I want to bring to your attention a program initiative the Chamber undertook in March and April to support the RTG’S efforts in reducing the number of road fatalities in Thailand. Under the banner “Road Safety is Everyone’s Business,” the AMCHAM office reached out to member companies who have programs in road safety and invited them to join a meeting with the Department of Road Safety at the Ministry of Interior. The main purpose of the meeting was to share ideas and identify any col-
laboration opportunities between the RTG and AMCHAM members. Thank you to the companies who participated in this initiative. You can read more about it on page 45.
Thanks are also due to AMCHAM’S Aerospace Committee for their support in producing the feature articles for this edition of T- AB Magazine. The AMCHAM Aerospace Committee was established at the end of 2015 in response to the RTG’S initiative to make Thailand a regional aviation hub. Aviation is now one of the key promoted industries under the Board of Investment ( BOI) incentive schemes and one of the five targeted industries for the Eastern Economic Corridor and coincides with infrastructure developments plans for revamping U- Tapao Airport to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul ( MRO) facilities. This committee is hard at work looking for ways to support the RTG’S plans and to increase investment in this important sector. Enjoy their perspectives in the following pages.
I also want to extend my appreciation to our event partners and all members and guests who attended this year’s Governors Ball held on April 22 at the AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel. More than 400 people enjoyed the Coun- try Roundup- themed gala and spent a fabulous evening together. With everyone’s support, we raised approximately Baht 1.6 million for the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation’s educational programs. If you attended, sponsored and/ or helped support the evening – a big thank you and, of course, kudos to the AMCHAM staff for pulling off a night to remember.
At the AMCHAM Board meeting in March we were informed that one of our current Board members, Neil Hansen, Managing Director of Esso, was resigning his Board position to return to the U. S. Neil’s successor at Esso, Jeremy Overstock, will be assuming Neil’s Board position until it is up for election in October. We wish Neil all the best in his new assignment and welcome Jeremy to Thailand and the Board.
Best regards, Jeff Nygaard President