Polish Investment and Trade Agency eyes "interesting" Thai market
Thailand is an interesting and business-friendly market for Polish exports and investment, but it needs to be approached with engagement and a concrete vision, taking into account local conditions, Norbert Bąk, the head of PAIH Bangkok, has told PAP.
"Currently, Thailand exports to Poland about three times as much as it imports. In recent years, the Polish trade deficit has clearly reduced, however, and Thailand's economic development has led to it being an attractive export market," the head of the Bangkok branch of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) told PAP in an interview. He underscored that five years ago Thai exports to Poland outweighed imports six-fold.
In Bąk's view, a Thai sector with great export potential is medicine, including the medicines industry and medical equipment. Thailand positions itself as a regional leader in private medical services, and its luxury hospitals are visited by growing numbers of "medical tourists" from the world over.
The local cosmetics sector is also promising and is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Thailand. That country's society is ageing and at the same time is getting richer, which creates specific opportunities for producers of creams and other anti-ageing products, according to the head of the local branch of PAIH, which has been active since the beginning of 2019.
In the field of investment it seems that "the Thais are more active in analysing the opportunities in Poland than Poles in Thailand," Bąk asserted. Among the latest Thai investments in Poland are the purchase of shares in poultry firm SuperDrob by Thailand's CP Foods and the takeover of a PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) factory in Wrocław by Thai group Indorama.
Norbert Bąk said that it is high time Polish companies started observing Thailand from the investment perspective. In recent years, the country has made huge efforts to become more business friendly and although businesspeople still encounter serious limitations and bureaucratic hurdles, a positive tendency has been begun, he told PAP.
In the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business 2018" ranking, Thailand placed second in terms of the progress made among the 190 countries ranked, moving from 48th position to 26th.
Thailand has been an investment location for such Polish companies as Mercator Medical, a significant player on the medical gloves market, and Comarch, whose IT systems have been implemented in big banks in Thailand and in one of the country's dominant telecoms companies.
"The climate for investment in Thailand has definitely changed for the better," the local PAIH head commented. "The most important thing in business is sensing the appropriate moment and now is the time to look at Thailand."
Bąk also highlighted the fact that Thailand has positioned itself as a logistics hub for the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "It's necessary to look at the whole of ASEAN," he advised. "Being in one country often opens the way into others."