Thailand’s plans to climb the ladder toward becoming a high-economy country were put on hold by disastrous floods in late 2011. Real GDP contracted 9% and losses were estimated at $44.7bn, but recovery, particularly for the hard-hit industrial estates, has been relatively swift. The focus is now on mitigating Thailand’s dependence on low-cost manufacturing exports for growth, which is risky given the uncertain world economy. Policymakers are hoping that new investment incentives will help it move up the manufacturing value chain, although economists fear that a new minimum wage might drive manufacturers away before this transformation can take place.
This section includes interviews with Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; Boonsong Teriyapirom, Minister of Commerce; Atchaka Sibunruang, Secretary-General, Thailand Board of Investment (BOI); Minoru Furusawa, President, Japanese Chamber of Commerce (JCC), Bangkok; and Joe Hinrichs, President of Asia Pacific and Africa Region, Ford Motor Company.