December 10, 2018

Thailand towards an enhanced partnership with the Netherlands

An article to celebrate the National Day of the Kingdom of Thailand

By H.E Ms. Eksiri Pintaruchi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

 

5th December marks Thailand’s National Day, Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) and the Father’s Day of Thailand. In this connection, this article celebrates such auspicious occasions.

The Thai-Dutch relations started off at the beginning of the 17th Century with next year to reach 415th Anniversary of diplomatic relations. The site of the old trading station, called “New Amsterdam” by the Dutch or “Baan Hollanda” by the Thais, can be visited by the public today in Ayutthaya, the capital of Siam at the time. Over the centuries, bilateral relations between the two countries have flourished, and remains strong.

At present, around 200,000 Dutch tourists visiting Thailand each year while over 300 Dutch companies have been investing there. This makes the Netherlands the largest investor amongst EU countries in Thailand. The number of exchanges of visits and communications at all levels and across different sectors has also reflected growing dynamic between both sides.

Looking ahead, Thailand has embarked upon a new chapter. The Government has worked towards fulfilling its commitment in carrying out comprehensive national reform according to its announced Roadmap, paving the way towards a genuine and sustainable democracy. The 20-year National Strategy (2017-2036) has been adopted as a long-term vision and a legal framework in steering socio-economic policies of the country to ensure sustainable development while enhancing conducive environment for trade and investment.

Given such promising context, Thailand looks forward to forging partnership and collaboration with the Netherlands through the following areas:

Thailand 4.0: Towards an enhanced partnership

With the shared values aiming to enhance competitiveness through value- and innovation- based economy, “Thailand 4.0” development plan and the Netherland’s “Top Sectors” policy as well as the triple helix model are mutually reinforcing. Great potentials and opportunities have been identified and concretized, utilizing each other’s strength to enhance synergy for win-win collaboration to achieve innovative and inclusive growths, especially in the areas of smart agriculture and food technology, water resources management, logistics, bio-economy & circular economy, science, technology & innovation and SMEs & Start-ups. Thailand signed its first comprehensive Agreement on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters with the Netherlands in September this year. Such development has underpinned Thailand’s effort to boost its partnership with the Netherland.

As an overarching economic policy aiming to steer Thailand forward amid the fast changing global developments, Thailand 4.0 has been introduced since 2016 covering ranges of policies and measures including reform efforts to streamline rules and regulations to ensure compliance with the international standard as well as to enhance transparency and confidence among investors and all stakeholders. These include identifying targeted sectors to be further upgraded and promoted (so-called the “S-Curve” and the “new S-Curve”), e.g. agriculture & biotech, food for the future, smart electronics, robotics, aviation & logistics, biofuels & biochemical, digital and comprehensive medical industry.

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) has also been designated as Special Economic Zone along Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard covering Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong Provinces. The EEC is aimed to serve as technological manufacturing and services as well as trade and investment hub connecting the production, supply and value chain under the ASEAN Economic Community through various investment incentives, plans and projects to upgrading and expansion of comprehensive infrastructure and logistics systems as well as R&D facilities. The projects encompass the following key elements:

  • Improved infrastructure and facilities for business and industrial clusters through smart urban planning;
  • Seamless connectivity to ASEAN neighbours via all means of transportation;
  • Newly reformed rules and regulations that provide maximum incentives for qualified investment projects, such as exemption of corporate income tax for up to 15 years, matching grants for investment in R&D, innovation and human resources for targeted industries, including permission to own land for BOI promoted projects;
  • Simplified application processes to facilitate all foreign investors on the issuance of permits and licenses through One Stop Service (OSS) center.

The continual pattern of Thailand’s accelerating economic growth rate – from 3% in 2015 to 3.3% in 2016, and 3.9% in 2017, with 2018 projected growth in the range 4.2-4.7% -, not only echoes sound economic fundamentals and resilience of the country, but also confidence in the prospects of the Thai economy and its future directions under this Thailand 4.0 policy framework toward an enhanced partnership with the Netherlands and beyond.

 

Sufficiency Economy for Sustainable Development Goals (SEP4SDG)  

Thailand joined forces with the international community in the adoption of the SDGs in 2015 and has attached great importance to mainstreaming sustainable development in all dimensions of its key policy priorities as well as daily living of the people to prepare and face the global challenges in a sustainable and responsible manner. The concept of sustainable development has long taken root in the country as our home-grown approach guided by His Majesty the late King Rama IX’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP). Based on the principles of moderation, reasonableness and prudence, guided by knowledge and virtue, SEP stresses balance in the use of economic, social, environmental and cultural capital, while underlining the importance of preparedness in dealing with changes in these four dimensions. Progress with balance promote stability and, ultimately, provide a basis for sustainability.

Thailand has also worked closely with many partners in promoting awareness and capacity building with other developing countries on bilateral and trilateral basis under the policy of “SEP for SDG Partnership”. Given the high priority both the Netherlands and Thailand place on promoting sustainability at national and international levels, both countries can partner under trilateral cooperation, sharing experience and expertise contributing to other developing countries’ efforts towards achieving the SDGs.

According to former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “Sufficiency Economy” was of great relevance and has reinforced the United Nation’s efforts to promote a people-centred and sustainable path of development. An outstanding aspect of the SEP is sustainable soil management, which has been internationally recognized when the FAO supported the formal establishment of World Soil Day as a global awareness platform. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared 5th December, the Birthday Anniversary of His Majesty the late King Rama IX, as the World Soil Day.

2019 ASEAN Chairmanship

Assuming ASEAN Chairmanship in 2019, Thailand looks forward to working with our partners including the Netherlands and the European Union, to promote sustainability in ASEAN Community-building, in the ASEAN-centered regional architecture, for regional peace, stability and prosperity. This can be done through various frameworks such as the ASEAN-EU dialogue relations and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). Collaboration through such sub-regional fora as Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), in the areas where the Netherlands possesses expertise i.e. agriculture and water resource management, will also be valuable.

Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship will seek to build on the accomplishments of past ASEAN Chairmanships as well as to create momentum for the future. Thailand will focus on sustainability in key dimensions including economic, human security and regional security, which will help promote the shared goal of building a people-centred Community that leaves no one behind. To this end, we look to enhancing seamless connectivity, effective partnerships, and laying a foundation for future-oriented ASEAN.

With the Netherlands and the EU’s leading role in sustainable development and innovation and Thailand and the ASEAN’s dynamic growth, enhanced collaborative partnerships would generate strategic impetus for further mutual benefits.

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For further information, please contact: TheHague@ThaiEmbassy.nl.

 

 

 

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