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Foreign business leaders express strong confidence in Thailand

Leaders of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) held a press conference last week to tell investors overseas that the Kingdom remains a safe, resilient and profitable place to do business, while an American-born business magnate urged international media and diplomatic missions to present a fairer picture of the situation in Thailand.
 
“Our businesses have not been interrupted and our safety has been ensured. Thailand is a resilient country,’’ said Stanley Kang, chairman of the JFCCT and an advisor to the Board of Trade. He suggested that the government invite foreign businessmen to visit the Kingdom and see the actual situation on the ground. He was joined at the press conference by Vice-Chairman Brian Sinclair, Vibeke Conselvan, president of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce and Yeap Swee Chuan, chairman of the Malaysia-Thai chamber of Commerce.
 
On the following day, General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), told reporters “we plan to invite businesses from the U.S., Australia and Europe to Thailand soon so that they remain confident and maintain their or expand their investments in Thailand.”  He also affirmed in his address last Friday that the NCPO would continue and further promote international economic and trade policy, focusing on liberal trade and looking after the business interests of foreign countries in Thailand.
 
Yeap Swee Chuan said he expected that the economy would recover quickly, as it had after past crises, because the Thai people pull together and sacrifice when their future is at stake. He added that reports that some automakers were planning on leaving Thailand were untrue. The JFCCT said that it would like to see the government engage them more on economic policies, but that Thai leaders were maintaining policy continuity and so confidence among business people is high.
 
Prior to the press conference, William Heinecke, an American-born businessman and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Thailand published an open letter calling on global media and foreign diplomats to present more balanced reporting on the situation in the Kingdom. “Many of you have gotten it wrong. I believe the Thai military, the majority of political parties in Thailand and the Thai people all want democracy.  But I believe what they want is a stable and functioning democracy that represents the will of the majority of Thai people,’’ he wrote.
 
“I believe that the current environment provides the platform for an effective ‘reboot’ of Thai democracy that will meet the needs and aspirations of the Thai people. Thailand is a relatively young democracy and as every Western democracy has gone through periods of great change and reform, this is precisely what Thailand is experiencing,’’ wrote Heinecke, who has built a billion-dollar empire of hotels, retail products and restaurant chains.
 
In a move that pleased businesses and the tourism industry, the government lifted all curfews around the nation last week. The governor of the Bank of Thailand said that growth would improve during the second half of the year as economic indicators were stable, fiscal spending has now been approved and consumer confidence was rebounding.
 
Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said that overall growth for the year would not be high, but if political stability is maintained then next year’s growth would be much higher.
 
See the original article at the U.S. Royal Thai Embassy Website

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