Apec, China reopening could boost growth to 4%
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Apec, China reopening could boost growth to 4%

Thailand's economy is expected to grow by 3-4% next year, growth supported by the tourism industry and as an outcome of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, a seminar was told.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, on Saturday gave a keynote speech during a seminar entitled "Connect the dots: Enhancing Thailand Competitiveness" in Ubon Ratchathani.

Mr Sanan said he regarded this year as a challenge for the economy as the country faced crises brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has hit economic growth across the board. However, Mr Sanan is confident GDP will grow 3-4%, while export growth will rise to 3-5% following news that China will reopen its country by the middle of next year.

China's reopening will result in an increase in foreign tourists in Thailand, doubling the number from this year to 20 million tourists. That would boost tourism earnings and help the economy right down to the grassroots.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) estimated the outcome of the successful Apec summit will attract foreign investment to the country of about 600 billion baht, such as the 100-billion-baht Thai-Chinese railway project and the 100-billion-baht oil stockpile project of Saudi Arabia.

The chamber will expedite planning for the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy model and foreign investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), to ensure the pace of growth is maintained.

The chamber is working on an investment plan with the Chinese government and promoting the country's soft power in the way of herbs, food and culture.

It is also boosting the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and revising regulations to help the real estate sector, he said.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith urged state agencies and the private sector to work together to promote border trade and the agriculture sector. Mr Arkhom also appealed for more investment in the country as it represents only 24% of GDP at present, a big drop on earlier figures of 40%.

The government had expedited investment in infrastructure to five trillion baht and is looking at ways to promote domestic consumption, he said.

During the session, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said the government has adopted the BCG model to achieve carbon neutrality as per the request of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who hopes to tackle climate change.

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