Connect with us

Business

Phuket In Focus: AEC is coming – are you ready?

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: In 2015, the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) – Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – will formally integrate their economies as part of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) initiative.

The AEC will be similar to the European Economic community (EEC) where participating countries aim to develop and maintain a single, unified production base and market.

According to the AEC blueprint, the region will enjoy a free flow of goods, services, investment, capital, and skilled labor, as to become a competitive economic region, have equitable economic development and integrate into the global economy.

Under this integrated framework, Asean citizens working in seven fields will be eligible to pursue employment and investment opportunities throughout the Asean region.

These fields are: engineering services, nursing services, architectural services, surveying services, accountancy services, dental practitioners, and medical practitioners.

With less than a year and a half to go, many unskilled and/or under-qualified Thais are concerned about their future prospects – after all, Thais have a general disadvantage when compared to their counterparts in neighboring countries, particularly in terms of English language ability.

But the question remains – Is it hopeless or hopeful for the Thai population?

“Joining the AEC in 2015 will bring both positive and negative effects, but Thai people should not be afraid,” insists Prakong Rakwong, chief of the Phuket Provincial Commerce Office.

“Some career paths will be more advantageous while others will be less. Anyway, we need to grow up and face reality. Our economy has to grow up, we can’t just trade with our own domestic markets,” he said.

“All we need to do is to prepare our people by providing some necessary knowledge about trading within the AEC,” he added.

The AEC will soon make it easier for investment, facilitating the free flow of products, services and labor among Asean countries.

For example, there will be no tax on certain imports, with exceptions for products placed on sensitive lists, which can be taxed between zero and five per cent.

These products vary from country to country, for example, in Thailand there will be four kinds of sensitive items – cut flowers, potatoes, coffee and copra.

Thailand is a major hub for tourism in the Asean region and Phuket itself is a very popular destination with many attractions. As such, it is expected that in 2015 there will be many more tourists coming to Thailand and Phuket, largely people from neighboring Asean countries.

It is also expected that Thailand, and Phuket in particular will see a major influx of foreign labor seeking work in the hospitality and construction industries.

Phuket Chamber of Commerce secretary, Surachai Chaiwat told the Gazette that most tourists from Asean member countries will probably go to Bangkok because it’s Thailand’s capital city and because Phuket is an expensive city.

“Probably, more people who speak good English will come to Phuket for work,” he says.

“Phuket’s economy is already over and beyond AEC. In fact, it is an international city. Phuket itself contributes 30 per cent [about 200-300 billion baht] of Thailand’s gross income from tourism, about 700-800bn baht last year”.

“In the future when the airport expansion [project] is finished, there will be 12-20 million people flying in to Phuket, up from 7-8 million tourists currently. These numbers show that we do not have enough workers to serve the tourists, so Phuket, indeed, will need more workers.

“At the same time, it’s crucial to develop our people skills to be ready for AEC,” he added.

After AEC becomes effective, trade in the tourism, transportation and the car industry is expected to increase by approximately 25 per cent.

The agriculture, construction and textile industries may feel the effects, because Thailand’s production base may be moved to other countries which have lower wages.

In fact, for many large Thai businesses that aren’t dependent on high-skill labor, such as those in the textile industry, it is only inevitable that their production lines will look to source the cheapest, unskilled labor available.

President of the Real Estate Sales and Marketing Association of Thailand, Dr Pairote Sukjan said that labor will definitely be an issue for Thailand in the AEC.

“Thailand’s minimum wage rate is quite high at 300 baht per day. And so, we attract outsiders to come to work in Thailand.

“But as Thailand has never been colonized – unlike Malaysia, Singapore, or Myanmar – many Thai people don’t speak very good English and that can be a big problem for them,” he concluded.

Keep checking the Gazette’s business pages for the latest local and national business news updates affecting Phuket and Thailand. Alternatively, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.

— By Anthika Muangrod

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand13 mins ago

Thailand News Today | Australian released from death row, Samui restaurant raided | September 20

News1 hour ago

Pathum Thani man allegedly lights building on fire, sticks around to laugh and smile

Thailand1 hour ago

Australian and American on Thai death row released from Thai death row, Supreme Court clears drug trafficking case

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

World3 hours ago

Insect snacks hit Japanese vending machines

Thailand3 hours ago

The Return of ‘THE TIM’ | Thaiger Bites | September 20

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 12,709 new cases; provincial totals

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Pattaya laundry shop reports ladies’ underwear thief is on the loose

World5 hours ago

Hanoi to ease Covid restrictions this week

Thailand5 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | No approved October re-opening, Phuket easing restrictions | September 20

Thailand5 hours ago

Government believes more suspects involved in theft from budget meant for the disabled

Thailand7 hours ago

Dual Pricing and Reduced tax on Alcohol | Good Morning Thailand | Episode 92

Thailand7 hours ago

Around 20 people arrested at Koh Samui restaurant for drinking alcohol, gambling, playing pool

Bangkok7 hours ago

Bangkok residents warned of flooding risk as torrential rain forecast this week

Thailand8 hours ago

Government seeks to regulate infectious waste disposal charges

World8 hours ago

Manny Pacquiao to run for president of the Philippines

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand6 days ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending