Thailand slips to 30th in global competitiveness

Thailand slips to 30th in global competitiveness

US reclaims top spot

The Board of Investment continues to upgrade its
The Board of Investment continues to upgrade its "one stop" facilities for investors but has failed to make a dent for international competitiveness. (Photo courtesy BoI)

Thailand's world competitiveness ranking slipped three spots this year, mainly due to government inefficiency and budget deficits.

According to the latest edition from the World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school in Switzerland, Thailand's ranking fell to 30th from 27th in 2017.

The top five most-competitive economies in the world remained the same as the year before, but the order changed.

The US returned to the top spot, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The US rose three spots from last year, while Hong Kong dropped one spot and Singapore remained third. The return of the US to the top was driven by its strong economic performance and infrastructure, IMD said.

Among the Asean countries, Singapore retained its lead among Southeast Asian economies, with Malaysia the only economy to register an improvement, by two positions, to 22nd.

Thailand was one of three Asean nations that saw their rankings drop, with Indonesia down one spot at 43rd and the Philippines down nine spots at 50th.

IMD said Thailand's challenges in 2018 include creating public awareness of the urgency and the magnitude of disruptive change; accelerating education reform and retraining/reskilling of the workforce to cope with future challenges; taking immediate action on applying technology and digital platforms for access to social services (such as education and healthcare); enhancing public services transformation to support the changing needs of businesses and citizens; and managing the political transformation and public conflict during the election process.

Kobsak Pootrakool, minister to the Prime Minister's Office, said Thailand has been running budget deficits as it seeks to accelerate investment in multiple infrastructure projects.

The government has run budget deficits since fiscal 1999, with the exception of 2005 and 2006.

Pattama Teanravisitsagool, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said Thailand's fall in the ranking was nothing to worry about because the budget deficits stemmed from a clear vision of infrastructure improvement.

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