Pres­i­dent’s Re­marks

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Contents -

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

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