Thailand expresses intent to become OECD member

Thailand expresses intent to become OECD member

Joining the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) would elevate the country's standards and help create a better quality of life for Thais, says Prommin Lertsuridej, secretary-general to the prime minister.

Following the Workshop on Raising Awareness of Becoming a Member of the OECD by the National Economic and Social Development Council on Friday, Mr Prommin said Thailand submitted a letter of intent to the OECD to become a member, fulfilling a long ambition to become a strong market-based economy that is more globally competitive.

The move is the first step of 10 on a to-do list before the application can be approved, he said.

Mr Prommin said becoming a member of the OECD reflects the acceptance of the highest global standard of developed economies which will help attract trade and investment to Thailand.

The OECD sets international standards in collaboration with member countries which cover a stable economic system, democratic governance, rule of law, a quality education system, environmental protection, and quality of life.

Mr Prommin said becoming a member of the OECD required regulatory reforms to create an environment conducive to investment. For example, at present, requesting a licence to set up a factory in Thailand requires permission from up to 19 agencies. As a result, processes should be shortened.

"The duty of the state is to support and facilitate trade and investment. Regulatory reform is the cheapest option to attract investment," Mr Prommin said.

The OECD was founded in 1961 by developed countries. Fifty years later, its membership has expanded to include a wider geographic region including Latin America, Asia and the Pacific.

Currently, only two member countries represent Asia today -- Japan and South Korea. Indonesia is another Asean member that is in the process of applying for membership.

In 2023 Thailand confirmed its intention to become a member of the OECD, followed by the cabinet's approval of the submission of a letter of intent.

"An important driver for Thailand to become a member of the OECD is to raise awareness of the benefit of a member country in terms of raising the country's long-term competitiveness. Government agencies must work in unison to amend rules and regulations which promote a conducive investment climate, transparency, good governance, and fair competition," Mr Prommin said.

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