Exclusive research looks at the major challenges facing corporates operating in Thailand at this critical time, writes SR Asia editor Sean Mooney
Since we produced last year’s report on Thailand, the country has slipped further into a political crisis that has no end in sight. Moreover, the damage being done to its economy is becoming ever more severe.
While researching the 2014 report we talked to local risk practitioners and brokers, who explained that violence, corruption and regulatory stagnation were distracting Thailand’s ‘ruling class’ from focusing on long-term goals central to maintaining the health of the nation’s economy.
As Bangkok-based DLA Piper consultant Jonathan Goacher put it, Thailand’s current political turmoil has affected its regional competitiveness and ability to function as an efficient and effective place to do business.
Executive vice-president of Aon Thailand Yoottana Kingkawkantong pointed out that the Thai economy has been losing momentum for some time. And the delay in appointing a new board of investment further harmed Thailand’s ability to attract new foreign direct investment.
The military coup, and subsequent declaration of martial law and communications clampdown, have dramatically increased that country’s economic and political risk. Thailand’s previously flourishing tourism industry, in particular, now has a huge shadow looming over its future.
The head of strategic intelligence organisation KCS Group Stuart Poole-Robb worries that any moves by the country’s ‘Red Shirt’ faction to try and take control of the situation are also likely to be opposed by the ‘Yellow Shirt’ faction. “Mounting protests on the ground and conflicts with the military could possibly plunge the country into civil war,” he warns.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Click here to read our latest Thailand country report