Foreign business leaders have regained confidence in Thailand now that a decision-making process has been established to drive the economy forward, say executives of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT).
JFCCT Chairman Stanley Kang said the recent appointment of the Board of Investment (BoI) board, chaired by junta chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, helped to restore their confidence after six months of hardship.
“We are confident over the next two or three months the economic policies will be clearer,” said Kang.
The JFCCT represents 28 foreign chambers of commerce and business associations including the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Thailand’s top foreign investors.
The last six months were hard for businesses, and they now hope government economic policies will take effect as soon as possible, said Kang.
But imports and exports have not been hampered at all, he said.
“In principle, business has continued as usual,” said Vibeke Lyssand Leirvag Conselvan, president of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. “Now that the BoI has appointed a board, new business can be established and business permits issued. It is important for this board to be in place in order for business to function.”
JFCCT Vice Chairman Brian Sinclair-Thompson said: “The best thing we can do is invite foreign businesses here so they can see the situation is safe and regain their confidence.
The downturn in the tourism industry happened well before the coup. The priority remains to develop facilities ahead of demand in most of the gateway airports.”
In 1997, a major crisis occurred, but the country has since recovered, he said. After the 2011 floods, many said Thailand would not recover, but it has proven very resilient.
Yeap Swee Chuan, president of the Malaysian-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said in his experience Thailand became better after a crisis.
“And this will be the case again here too,” said Yeap, president of the SET-listed auto-parts maker Aapico Hitech Plc.
Oh Lock Soon, chairman of the Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce, said business confidence is still present in Thailand.
“So far, no business has pulled out their investment from Thailand, as the country is still a good place to invest,” he said.
The JFCCT reiterated its stance that foreign investment craves predictability and a stable political environment.
It urges important stakeholders in the economy to find peaceful and lasting solutions to the current problems to ensure the long-term economic well-being of the country.