By Watcharapong Thongrung
"The IIU system will be beneficial for analysing investment as well as exports and will help predict trends of each industry. It is specifically designed to accommodate the rapidly changing economic climate of today’s world," said Sophon Pholprasit, director of the OIE.
"The IIU will provide nine key industrial databases: for Thailand’s industrial outlook; textile and garments; iron and steel; electrical and electronics; automotive; foods; plastics; ISO [International Organisation of Standardisation]; and Asean economy. In the future, the databases will be expanded to comprehensively cover more industries."
The IIU is an information network for economic insights, industrial statistics, market conditions, investment and trade factors. It is a resource for industrial law and regulations, research and development information, articles and analysis regarding industries, and current issues. The mission is to help businesses strike deals and improve their operations to a level of competency that matches those in the AEC and the world.
Ratchada Jiasakul, senior manager of Bryan Cave Thailand, said the AEC would bring about free movement of goods, services and investment as well as cooperation among member countries. Businesses need to be ready to respond to such changes, especially free trade in services and health, tourism, aviation and logistics.
The free movement of skilled labour and professionals – such as physicians, nurses, architects, accountants and geologists – would contribute to a brain drain and an increase in competition. Businesses have to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations of other member countries, while the state should ensure that the information available for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, is up-to-date and comprehensive.
Aat Pisanwanich, dean of economics at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said Indonesia had high potential for Thai investors to set up a production base since it is the biggest economy in Asean. Myanmar is another promising country as its natural resources are still abundant. Investors should carefully study all rules and regulations.
"The more you know about the country, the less likely you stand to make a deficit," he reiterated.