On Thursday 26 February 2015 the Annual General Meeting of the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce (TSCC) was held, traditionally at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok, which saw two veterans within TSCC, in particular Worachai Bhicharnchitr, resigning after 25 years of service! Worachai is the only Governor of the Board that has served the Chamber since its inception. Kenneth Radencrantz also resigned after a many years of service, mainly due to retiring back to Sweden, where he and his wife will spend a larger part of the year onwards.
Jan Eriksson (Spica), Hakan Alm (Vision House), Lars Andersson (Capaciton) were resigning and running for re-election. Anders Olsson (MDVAColor) and Joakim Persson (ScandMedia) were nominated as new Governors to the Board. These were all elected by the AGM with a big majority along with Björn Richardsson (Oakwood Residence), Christer Nilsson (Media Partner), Dan-Åke Enstedt (Saab Asia Pacific), Eric Hallin (Rembrandt Hotel & Towers), Fredrik Bergman (Diakrit), Jacques Michel (Volvo Group), Johan Nordqvist (Amadeus), Lars Svensson (Oriflame Cosmetics) and Sutti Manokitjarunman (Elextrolux Thailand).
The Chamber reported on the Activities and Events from the past year. Many events were co-organised with the Nordic chamber partners, as well as other international Chambers in Thailand in order to offer more quality events on a win-win basis.
“Increased co-operation gives more for less,” Director Peter Björk reported.
The most important event during 2014 had been the celebration of TSCC’s 25 Years Anniversary with a 3-day exhibition and a gala dinner, which had taken up most of the resources in terms of planning and execution as the main activity during the year. TSCC needs to have such a big project each year in order keep up the revenue stream needed, the AGM was told.
President Jan Eriksson (also re-elected as such by the new Board) reported on the Chamber Strategy, which includes having established working committees within the Board. Chairman of each is a Board member. TSCC is also a member of Board of Trade
Lobbying activities take place both directly and indirectly. Indirectly TSCC is involved through JFCCT, various committees and EABC.
“Sweden is rather well represented,” commented Jan Eriksson. He underlined what TSCC spends a lot of time in these groups and also in connection with the other foreign chambers.
Directly TSCC communicates with the Thai Government and public institutions in Thailand.
Among the things the Chairman mentioned from these activities was the interest of Thailand’s current government to simplify things for foreigners working here. A result is that the 90 days reporting will soon become electronic.
The AGM continued reporting, and commenting, on the balance sheet and financial result for the year and with a comparison with previous year, plus forecasting. The Chairman said that the Chamber had set up some KPIs, which included getting more members as one driving force.
In 2014 TSCC had 120 members, of which 43 were individuals, 58 corporate and 19 Premium members. Membership income increased year by year.
Following on the AGM, TSCC members and guests enjoyed a Dinner consisting in: Chicken Pastrami, Semi-dried tomato, walnut aquavit lemon dressing, and shaved fennel as starter; Pan-seared salmon, potatoes, spring vegetables and dill cream sauce as main course; and Valrhona chocolate tart with Maracuja sorbet as dessert.
Closing the long night was the special Guest Speaker for the Dinner: Dr. Don Nakornthab, Director of Macroeconomic Policy Office, Bank of Thailand. Dr. Don entertained the guests by sharing a few anecdotes connecting him with Sweden. A great inspiration for Dr. Don to finish up his studies in the U.S had been the prominent Swedish professor in political economy Lars E. O. Svensson. Speaking on the topic of ‘The economic outlook for Thailand 2015’ a main conclusion from Dr. Don was that Thailand’s growth in the foreseeable future would not be high enough to develop the country on par with how countries in the west had done. The disparities between the few big cities versus the countryside were still very high, and the Thai population is still impeded by high household debt and depressed farm income.
The prospect of a public investment shortfall and the slow recovery of domestic demand in turn have weighed on the investment decisions of most private businesses. It was crucial that the current government would sign off on and get infrastructure projects going, and with a volume that the next elected government would have to follow through on.
Furthermore, Thailand badly needed to upgrade its export of obsolete products (such as hard disks) such as the manufacturing which is losing in demand, where manufacturers of solid state drives (SSDs) are currently setting up their factories in other countries.