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Thailand and the US sign MoUs on digital trade and investment

Thai and US businesses pledged Monday to set up an economic and business promotion committee and partner to promote Thailand’s digital economy and Thailand-US digital trade and investment, according to a recent report.

The chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce signed two memorandums of understanding (MoU) with its US counterpart led by the executive director for the Southeast Asia US Chamber.

The two MoUs will promote trust on digital platforms and ecosystems as well as upgrade working skills in the digital economy, said the chairman.

With the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China, this is a good opportunity for Thailand to attract foreign direct investment, according to the chairman who added that Thailand is a middle ground that welcomes foreign investment, including investments from the US. The executive director for the Southeast Asia US Chamber said that the two MoUs will start cooperation between the private sectors and build a platform to exchange information and network to develop the digital economy.

Some 70% of US chamber members in Thailand surveyed expect progress on the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), he said. US investors are optimistic about Thai economic growth and are committed to promoting Thai small businesses applying more digital technology.

The director stated that US businesses are keen to invest more in digital businesses such as blockchain sharing economy, and air freight services, naming various large multinational corporations as some interested parties. The exchange would entail Thailand facilitating ecosystems, tax incentives, access to capital, connectivity and predictable regulations.

The Prime Minister’s Office minister said that with the world’s economic centre moving to Asia, especially emerging markets in ASEAN with GDP growth averaging at 5-8%, Thailand offers a perfect investment venue for US investment, as the country offers connectivity not only to neighbouring countries but also China and India.

The US investors in the future may use Thailand as the production base of high-value products while using Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar as assembly venues and ship through Thailand’s Laem Chabang port said the minister adding that Thailand is quite ready in terms of infrastructure and ease of doing business, with a decent geographic location.

It was noted that Thailand hopes to have a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh soon and is in FTA talks with Sri Lanka.

In a separate development, the PM Office Minister said that seven French companies and one organisation in the aviation industry are keen to invest in the U-tapao aviation city in the EEC.

An official press release stated that on 24 September 2018, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Chamber of Commerce held a seminar on “Creating Thailand-US Commercial Opportunities” at the Dusit Thani Hotel in  Bangkok.

To prepare the MOU to set up the Economic and Business Promotion Board Both parties agreed that in 2018, the MOU between the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the US Chamber of Commerce would be signed.

This occasion marked the 185th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Thailand and the United States and the 200th anniversary of the People to People Contact.

As mentioned before, two MoUs were signed between the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the US Chamber of Commerce. One MoU was for the establishment of the Thai-US Economic and Business Cooperation Board and the other was to promote Digital Economy, focusing on promoting trade and investment between Thailand and the United States.

A lunch was organised to celebrate the signings. The Minister of Commerce made a speech at the lunch wherein he mentioned the long-standing relationship between the two countries where sugar was the first commodity of trade between them.

In this meeting, the new Thai-US relationship was discussed and celebrated. The United States was one of the three most valuable trading nations in the world and Thai leaders hoped that the US will become the number one supplier in Thailand in the future.

However, technology will play an important role in AI with employment being a main aspect of the changing economy that will be affected. The new entrepreneurs and SMEs will be key factors in driving the economy.

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