By The Nation
Malee Chokelamlert, director-general of the ministry’s Department of International Trade Promotion, said the mentor companies included Charoen Pokphand Group, Saha Group, Thai Beverage, Boon Rawd Brewery, and Siam Cement Group.
With proven track records, these major Thai corporations are in a good position to share their business experiences and coach relatively inexperienced SMEs about how to tap foreign business opportunities, she said.
The Commerce Ministry expects to launch the project by May or June after selecting SMEs with strong potential in specific industries and pairing each SME with a suitable mentor – a major Thai corporation with appropriate business and foreign market experience.
The SMEs will be groomed to be ready to tap foreign business opportunities. "Foreign investments can contribute to Thailand’s revenue, which has always depended heavily on exports. Relying on trade alone today is inadequate – we need to link trade with investment and tourism, as they are all related and will eventually help expand trade," Malee said.
The Commerce Ministry will focus on CLMV countries after the recent launch of the Asean Economic Community, which should foster investment and trading of goods and services. However, each Asean nation has its own specific customs, culture and lifestyle, which should be considered in order for Thailand to establish the appropriate network to support trade and investment by Thai SMEs, she said. Initially, the Commerce Ministry will make a list of targeted foreign investments and business opportunities with strong growth potential in CLMV and other Asean countries, as well as China, India and others, for Thai SMEs to invest in via subcontracting, establishing representative offices, joint ventures, wholly owned investments, franchises and acquiring licences.