Thailand seeks to continue their growth and investments abroad

On December 3, 2019, Meridian welcomed His Excellency Ambassador Thani Thongphakdi of Thailand to a Corporate Council luncheon to discuss the current state of U.S.-Thai relations hosted by Chevron and Oracle. Ambassador Thani recently arrived in the United States and this luncheon was his first visit to the Meridian campus.

Ambassador Thani gave a brief overview about the importance of the U.S.-Thai relationship along with initiatives that the Thai government have taken to help propel the country toward development by successfully circumventing the middle-income trap due to their classification as a middle-income country. These initiatives have helped to improve the economic standing of the country, decrease the rate of poverty in the country, and continue a trend of 3% annual economic growth. Ambassador Thani spoke about the economic opportunities that Thailand is interested in along with the many ways that the U.S. has given opportunity to Thailand. Specifically, the Thai government wants to invest in a mixture of sectors around the United States such as the digital economy, electric vehicles, medical devices, aviation, and energy.

Along with their interest in investing in the United States, there has been an interest in attracting foreign direct investment to their own country as a way to improve upon their methods of research and development. The BUILD Act recently passed by the United States Congress will support some of the interests of the Thai government by opening the door for investment from the United States. The special relationship between the two countries was highlighted during the discussion by showing the increase in exports to the United States, while overall exports decreased throughout the country.

In the past few years, Thailand has experienced a variety of socio-political changes. King Vajiralongkom was crowned in May 2019 following a period of mourning for the previous monarch, King Bhumibol. In addition, Thailand held their first elections since a military coup against the government in 2014. The election gave the opposition party the most seats in the Lower House of Parliament, but due to the Upper Houses’ support of the military, Prime Minister Prayuth maintained his position as head of government.

Project summary

Thailand seeks to continue their growth and investments abroad
Countries: Thailand
Program Areas: Diplomacy