A rice shop in Thailand. (Source: themalaysianinsider.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – Thailand, the 2nd largest economy in ASEAN, has developed strategies to make the most of opportunities as well as be flexible enough to cope with challenges arising from the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). 

Development of infrastructure and logistics system to enhance connectivity is among eight strategies Thailand outlined to prepare itself for the formation of the AEC.

Envisaging the potential of a common market with over 600 million people, Thailand has paid heed to infrastructure in order to turn itself into a gateway for trade, investment and tourism in ASEAN, Minister of Transport Arhkom Termpittayapaisith said.

The Thai Government has implemented major infrastructure projects worth over 2.2 trillion THB (66.7 billion USD) in the past 7 years, which include the construction of a high-speed railway, a dual-track rail network and a transit rail system in Bangkok. It will also improve the road system that connects with ASEAN economic corridors, upgrade seaports and airports, and develop border trade.

Other strategies focus on promoting competitiveness of products, services and investment, improving quality of life and social protection, developing human resources to meet ASEAN labour standards, improving legal framework to facilitate trade and investment, promoting public awareness of the AEC, strengthening security, and enhancing urban competitiveness.

The government has also undertaken a set of comprehensive solutions to support local businesses. It has provided about 8,000 firms with fundamental knowledge on business competition in AEC.

In addition, state workers are required to learn English and a language from another ASEAN member state while vocational programmes have been scaled up as the nation hopes to become a regional hub for vocational training.

According to a governmental report, Thailand came second after Singapore in terms of readiness for AEC as the country has completed around 80 percent of all tasks for its integration.

Together with the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, it has lowered its tariffs and been ready to introduce new ASEAN one-stop shop to speed up customs clearance.

The country is hereby believed to be among few enjoying most of economic benefits once the AEC is formed.

Last year, Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) hit 404.8 billion USD, up 0.9 percent from the previous year. ASEAN is leading the way as the largest importer of Thai products.-VNA