Friday, November 30, 2007

WTO tells Thailand they must privatize

Geneva - The World Trade Organisation told Thailand on Monday that investors have lost confidence. It must rebuild competitiveness with structural reforms, especially by getting on with poltically touchy privatisation of state firms.

"By and large, Thailand's economic fundamentals remain good," the WTO said in a special report, with annual growth of 5.7 per cent since the 1997 recession, led by exports and strong domestic consumption.

But now, "a confluence of factors, including increasingly constrained production capacity, has led to a recent slowdown in real GDP growth."

"A key challenge for Thailand's future economic performance is the government's ability to restore private investor confidence and to proceed with pending structural reforms, including stalled privatisations, that would help improve the country's competitiveness," it said.

The WTO promised a final, fuller and frank policy statement on the country by Wednesday evening Thailand time.

Among the recommendations made on Monday, the world organisation called for more openness in trade.

Thailand must "expand its tariff bindings and simplify its relatively complex tariff regime," it said. "The services sector... has benefitted so far from liberalisation but would grow further if multilateral commitments under the GATS were expanded."

The first part of the WTO report is available at the WTO website, ( Click to follow link

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