Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia
ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Michael G. Plummer, Peter J. Morgan and Ganeshan Wignaraja
Thailand’s increasing importance as a regional co-production base, and growing intra-regional trade and border trade, are mainly due to recent changes in its economic structure, namely, lack of operational workers, rise in wages, and increase in outward FDI, together with a change of regional policies in Southeast Asia. As a result, improvements in physical connectivity, trade facilitation, energy cooperation and financing infrastructure play an important role. Extending such connectivity to South Asia could also complement the current promotion of regional trade and regional production networks. This chapter reviews the current stages of Thailand’s intra-regional trade, physical connectivity, trade facilitation, energy cooperation and infrastructure funding, as there are planned projects in all these areas which could have a tremendous impact on Thailand and its linkages to the whole Southeast Asian region and beyond, such as the South Asian region. However, Thailand’s political instability impedes the progress and implementation of such projects. The chapter also examines the current financing mechanism of Thailand’s infrastructure projects, which relies heavily on public spending. Suggestions for strategies are provided in order to promote physical infrastructure, trade facilitation and energy cooperation of Thailand with the mainland of Southeast Asia and South Asia.
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