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 Home > About Thailand > Manufacturing > Future

Future Prospects

From the mid-90s until the beginning of the next century, all economic forecasts put Thailand on a steady upward course with annual growth remaining strong around 8 percent and inflation well under control at approximately 5 percent. Stronger emphasis on sustainable development and science and technology are evident as Thailand joins the ranks of Newly Industrialized Economies. As of 1994, Thailand has a domestic market of around 60 million people, with rapidly increasing purchasing power (per capita income US$ 2,500, and is projected to reach $ 3,860 by the year 2000).

Continuing liberalization of the tax and tariff structures, an open door policy towards foreign investment, and macroeconomic stability will keep Thailand a favoured investment location. Increasing political stabilization and a trend towards regional cooperation within ASEAN and the countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region will attract more worldwide attention to the region as a whole.

Thailand's role in this new regional order will be crucial, as its strengths evolve beyond being merely a cost-effective labour platform to greater industrial capability, diversity, and depth, and its entrepreneurial leadership develops.

Thailand is well-positioned to serve as a regional base for investment in the emerging economies of the region. The government is actively forging linkages with the countries of the Greater Mekong and Thailand's newly-established offshore banking facility, the Bangkok International Banking Facilities (BIBF) will further enhance trade and investment between Thailand and her regional neighbours.

With the successful completion of the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, the country is on course to continue as an export powerhouse; its rapidly growing domestic market is also gaining importance as an attraction for foreign investors.

As Thailand begins its ascent up the value-added ladder, it is starting to produce, domestically, a greater share of the capital goods, parts, and components that fuel the manufacturing engine. Tremendous investment opportunities are implicit in this process.

The new model for what is possible in Thailand may be seen on the country's Eastern Seaboard, where one of the developing world's most ambitious integrated development plans is currently being implemented. By the year 2000, access to two new airports, three deep seaports, a global transpark, and rail system will support investments in a full range of industrial activities. Now that the large scale investment in a number of basic industries such as petrochemicals and steel manufacturing are on stream, supporting industries and services are rapidly following.

As Thailand consolidates its current phase of development, its position in the new economic world order is stronger than ever before.

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