Thailand has emerged from the 80s as one of the most promising
developing nations in the world. The two digit growth rates
of 13 percent, 11 percent and 19 percent, it achieved in
1988, 1989 and 1990 were the highest rates of growth. the
initial main engines of growth have been external-led factors
including export, tourism,
and foreign investment, but lately, the domestic demand
played more role in stimulating growth. This is due to several
factors including high growth rate of the construction sector,
increasing spendings by individuals benefiting from the
current economic boom, and rising investment from both private
and public sectors. However, the growth rates in 1991, 1992
and 1993 were lower at 8.2, 7.4 and 7.5 percent respectively,
consistent with the long-term sustainable expansion. Increasing
rate has been around 3 percent during recent year.
This fast-growth pattern is accompanied
by rapid structural changes in three dimensions. First,
there is a clear internationalization of the Thai economy.
the share of exports to the Gross Domestic Product rose
from 19.2 percent in 1982 to as high as 29.5 percent in
1993. This internationalization of the Thai economy represented
both challenges and opportunities since the increasing openness
of the economy allows Thailand for wider access to the world
market but, even though it opens the country to more unstable
forces in the world arena.
Second, there is an increasing interdependency
among countries in the Asia Pacific region (including Japan,
NICs, U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, and ASEAN).
Massive relocation of export industries from the surplus
economies, particularly Japan and the newly Industrialized
Economies (NIEs), in Asia led to the increasing integration
of Thailand into the Asia-Pacific industrial structure.
During 1987 as much as 64 percent of the foreign investment
seeking promotional priviledges in Thailand were fro the
Asia Pacific region and the share was still high at 62 percent
Finally, there has been a new structural
change as a result of the economic boom. Wage rate is rising
and shortages are being felt in some critical technical
man-power areas. Thus, the Thai economy is rapidly moving
from a labour abundancy situation to one of more full employment.
This allows for better income distribution as development
impacts are being more dispersed in the kingdom. With adequate
training and technical facilities, Thailand is ready to
move up to a higher level of production structure with more
value added to the economy, thus allowing other nations
with cheaper unskilled labour to move into its place for
an orderly development transition process in the region.