On 23 January EABC organised a Speech Dinner with the governor of the Bank of Thailand, Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob, “Moving Towards a New Business and Financial Landscape” at the Sofitel Sukhumvit Bangkok Hotel
More than 150 members and guests attended this highly interesting evening together with representatives from the Press and Media.
EABC also had the honor to welcome the Ambassador to the Delegation of the European Union H.E Jesus Miguel Sanz and several Ambassadors from the European Union Member States notably the Ambassador of Austria H.E. Enno Drofenik, the Ambassador of Greece H.E. Mr. Pericles Boutos, the Ambassador of Portugal H.E. Mr. Francisco de Assis Morias e Cunha Vaz Patto, and the Ambassador of Switzerland H.E. Mr. Ivo Sieber.
EABC Executive Director Mr. Peter Bjork started by explicitly thank the Sponsors of the Event; Platinum Citi Bank, Gold Continental and the Beverage Sponsor Husqvarna as well as EABC Annual Partners Platinum BMW and Gold Partners C.I. Group, Diageo Moet Hennessey, Mercedes Benz, MG Sales, Philip Morris, and our Annual Silver Partners.
H.E. Ambassador Sanz then delivered his welcome remarks and said that we know that economic fundamentals in Thailand are strong. Private sector exposure to foreign currency denominated risks and the health of the financial sector is nowhere near to the levels of the 1997 "Tom Yum Kung" crisis. The Thai economy has benefited from years of reasonably fast growth and it can certainly sustain shocks without major crisis. But H.E. Ambassador Sanz also remarked that overall annual growth rates has been slowing for some years now and the country's economic performance has been weaker than ASEAN peers regardless of relative differences in levels of development. European business tells us that the political leadership has to engage in fundamental reforms to enhance Thailand's overall economic competitiveness. There is a need to open up the services sector, increase foreign participation in government procurement and review the regulatory environment around state owned enterprises, H.E. Ambassador Sanz ended.
The EABC President Mr. Rolf-Dieter Daniel then introduced the recent developments of EABC and underlined that we need support from our members and partners to continue our important engagement with the Thai government in the Advocacy area. Before introducing the Governor of BOT Dr. Veerathai to the guests, Mr. Daniel remarked that the UNCTAD: World Investment Report 2016 says EU was the largest investor in the world. In 2015, European investors invested internationally 576 billion dollars despite a sluggish economy in Europe. The EU is also by far the largest investor in ASEAN. EU companies have invested an average of 19 billion euro annually in this region. A large part of the European investment goes to investing in the service sector as the region’s investing climate are improving and more regional and national measures are favorable to the Foreign Direct Investments; These includes a free flow of financial capital, improving the ease of doing business, protection on intellectual property, integration into the global supply chain and superior regional connectivity.
The EABC President believes that Thailand has a possibility of becoming the ASEAN hub for trade and foreign investments. Thailand has a strategic location, and many development projects that will attract investors worldwide. Thailand is also in the stage of reforming many policies.
The Governor of BOT delivered his highly interesting speech that you can upload in its full version here
Finally the EABC President thanked the Governor of BOT Dr. Veerathai and all sponsors and guests and handed a token of appreciation to the Governor Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhoband to the Platinum Sponsor of the evening Citi Bank and Mr. Darren Buckley. Dr. Veerathai then kindly answered questions from the floor during the last 10 minutes of the event.
This was the first EABC event for 2017 and we will continue to organize high level events with an interest for the European and International business community.