Small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand were provided great opportunities by their government to prepare for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), according to a government media resource on August 19.

To enhance the competitiveness of SMEs, which serve as the foundation of the Thai economy, the Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) under the Industrial Ministry has worked out major strategies that provide more funding and information sources as well as product testing services to facilitate SMEs operations.

The department is also preparing three projects to be carried out in the 2014 fiscal year, with the engagement of many SME business groups.

The first one involves the second phase of the “Bangkok Fashion City” project, which will promote Thailand’s capital as a regional fashion hub.

The second project seeks to develop the food processing industry on a full-cycle basis in order to add value to Thai products while the third looks to build a green value chain for the agro-industry.

With these projects, the DIP expects to develop at least 7,000 SME operators. There are currently almost 3 million SME operators across Thailand in the production, trade, and service sectors.

During the first six months of 2013, Thai SMEs exported more than 30.2 billion USD worth of goods, mainly to China, Japan, the United States, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Major exports include gems and jewelry, plastic products, rubber and rubber products, machinery, computers and components, and sugar.-VNA