Abhisit Luncheon with Nordic Chambers

Members of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Thailand together with approximately 500 other business people and entrepreneurs from different industries in Thailand attended a very informative luncheon on Friday 27th of July, 2012, at the ballroom of Shangri-La Hotel. The luncheon featured former Prime Minister and Democratic Party Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as their honored guest speaker. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva spoke on the topic “Thai Politics: Friend or Foe of Business?”

Mr. Vejjajiva opened his address by elaborating on the general statement that nowhere in the world can you completely separate politics from business.

“Good politics will be conducive to business while bad politics will be bad for business,” he said.

Mr. Vejjajiva’s overall stance in regards to the theme question is, yes – Thai politics has been a friend of business. His case in point being that during the past 30 – 40 years, Thailand has seen spectacular and continued economic growth and relevance as a business hub. This, despite the country having had 17 – 18 constitutions and just as many coups, saying ”we almost lost count.”

Even through tumultuous times, military coups, unrest etc, it has never really been a question whether Thailand should encourage a vibrant economy based on open market forces or dynamics.

However, minor and intermittent periods of nationalist sentiments, economic protectionist measures etc. have been seen, but disappeared quickly.

Towards the end of his speech, Mr. Vejjajiva shared some of his personal opinions, including opposition and skepticism with the economic policies of the current government such as “the too hasty and dramatic minimum wage increases and lack of implementation and concerted action on anti-corruption measures”. 

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