Challenges on the new frontier
Myanmar’s political reforms are encouraging and won’t be rolled back, but investors see overhaul of the entire economy, financial system and skilled labour pool as a bigger challenge.
Myanmar, the new frontier of Southeast Asia, is unlikely to reverse the
course of its current reform drive, and Thai businesses are being urged not to miss the boat the way they did when Vietnam began opening up to the world two decades ago.
“If you look at how the private sector reacted to the emergence of Vietnam, it can be said that Thai corporates were not fast enough,” said Korn Chatikavanij, a former finance minister and a deputy leader of the Democrat Party.
Mr Korn said there may have been various reasons for the slow response in Vietnam, among them “inertia” stemming from a historically cool relationship between the two countries that viewed each other as competitors.
“But this is different in the case of Myanmar,” he said at a recent seminar in Bangkok on new opportunities in Myanmar for Thailand and India.
“The rise of Myanmar will not be a threat but an enormous opportunity for Thai companies.”
As well, he said, a richer neighbour would help Thailand to attract larger numbers of tourists.
He noted that France attracts as many as 75 million tourists annually, partly because all of its neighbouring countries are rich, and visitors come not just to see France but to travel to nearby European destinations as well.
The opening up of Myanmar, he said, therefore was not a threat to any industry, be it manufacturing or tourism, but instead an opportunity for value addition.
Other speakers at the event …
Full story from Bangkok Post at http://goo.gl/XPNBu
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