Thai trade image 'intact despite coup'

Thailand's trade and investment image remains unchanged even though the military is now running the country, says the head of the Department of Industrial Promotion.

Foreigners still have confidence in the potential of Thailand, said Atchaka Sribunruang, adding that foreigners' interest was even increasing in some Thai product items.

Under the circumstance, she said, Thai operators could still rely on overseas markets. She recommended that they focus not only on Southeast Asian customers but also buyers in China and other Asian countries.

Mrs Atchaka made the comments at a ceremony held to mark the end of a training programme in Khon Kaen for small and medium entrepreneurs in the Northeast.

The training was aimed at enhancing entrepreneurs' international competitiveness so that they can deal with more open trade when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) is formed next year. The programme covered 148 business operators in Khon Kaen, Yasothon, Chaiyaphum, Surin and Bung Kan provinces.

Mrs Atchaka said that businesses were growing rapidly in northeastern Thailand as the region was becoming an increasingly important gateway to other Southeast Asian nations.

The gross regional product of the Northeast was about 1.28 trillion baht last year or 10% of the GDP of the entire country.

Rapidly growing businesses in the Northeast can be seen in the agricultural, industrial, educational, wholesale and retail sectors.

Mrs Atchaka said businesses with potential included rice mills and the manufacturing of tapioca, sugar, beverages, pulp, garments, metal and non-metal products, shoes, electronic products and computer parts.

She also urged operators to improve their management and production processes to meet market demands.

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