NESDC lists steps to win confidence

NESDC lists steps to win confidence

The state planning unit, the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), has urged the government to expedite economic cooperation in a move to build up the confidence of foreign investors.

Danucha Pichayanan, NESDC secretary-general, said accelerated economic cooperation would enable Thailand to enjoy better benefits more quickly from a global economic recovery and an upward trend in world trade and stimulus packages among the leading economies.

"The government is still counting on foreign investment to drive the Thai economy this year," said Mr Danucha.

"If the government comes up with a more proactive role to make further progress in regional economic cooperation, there is the belief that foreign investors would make a faster decision in terms of investment in Thailand."

According to Mr Danucha, the government is also being urged to come up with a clear stance on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

A delay in making a decision to apply to join the CPTPP may cause Thailand to lose an opportunity to boost trade and investment, he said.

The CPTPP was launched in 2019 to remove trade barriers among 11 nations representing nearly 500 million consumers.

The pact replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a similar trade deal that included the US until the Trump administration decided to withdraw.

"As soon as the government declares its intention to apply to join the pact, it will create positive results both in terms of trade opportunities and investment because investors would see the direction as to whether Thailand will join this agreement in the future," said Mr Danucha.

"The government does not need to immediately accept all requirements as stipulated in the CPTPP, as the pact still allows dialogue partners to reserve the right to protect issues we consider to be disadvantageous for 10-15 years."

The International Economic Policy Committee, which met early this month, agreed to take three months to decide whether Thailand should apply to join the CPTPP, citing all related agencies are still required to conduct more in-depth studies, as suggested by the house standing panels.

The cabinet agreed in May last year to set up house standing panels to look into and consider whether Thailand should sign up to the controversial Asia-Pacific trade agreement, amid widespread concerns over harm to the agriculture sector.

The decision came after it decided in April last year to shelve a decision on CPTPP membership following stiff opposition from politicians, civil society groups and prominent social figures who said it would hurt the economy, particularly the agricultural and healthcare sectors.

The panels were required to submit their studies within 30 days. They were supposed to submit their studies in early July last year, but they asked for another 60-day extension. The new deadline was in early September.

Mr Danucha said the government should also continue extending economic partnerships with foreign partners to boost exports this year.

The NESDC on Monday raised its forecast for the export value of goods in US dollar terms to grow by 5.8%, up from a 4.2% expansion in the previous projection made in November last year.

"Exports will return to become one of the key contributors to the Thai economy this year due to the growing economy and global trade," said Mr Danucha.

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