By The Nation
In a press releas, ITD said the study provides suggestions for entrepreneurs in trade in services to execute more value-added strategies, when involved government agencies need to support a development of innovation and technology in the sector. The study also empowers local businesses to attract more foreign investors and promote Asean as be the hub of trade and investment.
Dr Piyaporn Iamthitiwat, Deputy Director - Academic Administration, Acting Director of ITD, says the trade in services now plays an important role in Thailand’s economy development.
Considering the contribution to total GDP, the Trade in Services has an increasing rate: Trade in Services contributed to Thailand’s GDP in year 2017 at 56.31 per cent, an increase of 10.26 per cent compared with the year 2012 at 51.07 per cent.
For economic value, the Trade in Services in year 2017 showed the value at Bt256 billion, reached an increase of 26.10 per cent when compared with the year 2012 at Bt203 billion (Source: World Bank, 2019). Further, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported the export value of Thailand’s Trade in Services in year 2017 at US$75.354 billion (Bt2.4 billion), ranked the 19th in the world and the 6th in Asia.
To analyse the growth direction and potential of Thailand’s Trade in Services, conceptual frameworks and research instruments are implied, including: 1) Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix, and 2) Thailand Competitiveness Matrix (TCM). The number of values and growth rates in the research are referred to the Comtrade database during year 2013 – 2017.
The study provides some analytical issues and conclusion about the development of Thailand’s Trade in Services.
The changing situation due to disruptive technology will considerably affect Thailand’s Trade in Services, so entrepreneurs need to be prepared for adaptation to meet challenges in future.
They must push and execute value-added strategies, and need more supports from the government in development of innovation and technology, in order to provide a better service to customers and expand to new markets.
Some industries in the service sector that tend to get benefits from using value-added strategies include Tourism, Retail (especially e-commerce), Real Estate, Education, Healthcare, Intellectual Property, Emerging Technology, Finance, and Telecommunication-Computer-Information Technology (IT).
SMEs in service sector are facing some issues, especially the management operations. Most entrepreneurs are still lack of technology usage to facilitate their customers as expected. It makes the growth of customer base not hit their planned targets. Moreover, foreign competitors directly affect Thailand’s SMEs situation, when Thai entrepreneurs lack of well management skills. It is noteworthy that now Thailand’s neighbouring countries (such as Vietnam and Malaysia) are increasingly promoting education programs in Science, Engineering, Medical, and Technology, which are aligned with the free flow of skilled lobar trend in present.
Piyaporn said that from the study, the International Institute for Trade and Development proposes 7 policy suggestions:
1) Adding values to potential business in service sector: As a structural changing on social and technology, Thailand should implement value-added strategies in 3 potential business, namely Healthcare Tourism, Health and Beauty, and Elderly Service.
2) Preparation of government agencies: There should be more methodical collaboration among government agencies to facilitate business in Trade in Services sector.
3) Monitor and control of involved agreements: To have monitor and control of framework agreements in all business categories are necessary for planning strategy and operations, in order to make an alignment in the sector.
4) Trade in Services on digital platform: As the government’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) has developed the Digital Economy Promotion Scheme (2018 - 2021), all business sectors should take part to make an achievement accordingly.
5) Preparation of SMEs: All SMEs entrepreneurs should improve their skills and capability on information technology usage to increase the competitiveness.
6) Operations of Free Trade in Service Sector for skilled labour: As the professional fields in Free Trade agreement need more knowledge and skills, professional organisations should participate in setting criteria of qualifications to meet regional standards, leading to an achievement and mutual agreement in the region, and,
7) Financial and insurance services: As financial and insurance services are tend to grow strongly, so involved parties should improve their operating system and personnel skills, in terms of Big Data, Data Analytics, Block Chain, Data Privacy, and Cyber Security. It is because data security is very important for financial and insurance services.