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Roles of ICC Thailand to support Thailand economic growth during post covid-19 pandemic

December 17, 2021 – The International Chamber of Commerce - Thailand (ICC Thailand) held a press conference on “Roles of ICC Thailand to support Thailand economic growth during post covid-19 pandemic” at Bunjerd Cholvijarn Building. The ICC Thailand reveal plans to accelerate entrepreneurs to develop/strengthen their competitive advantage and other relevant capabilities and readiness in dealing with foreign markets. The ICC Thailand anticipates that the push would contribute positive economic growth during post covid-19 pandemic.
Poj Aramwattanont, Ph.D. – the Chairman of the ICC Thailand elaborated that the ICC is the world’s largest business organization that was established in 1919 in Paris, France (where the headquarter is). The ICC represents private sectors in 100 countries around the world and works to formulate international trade and investment regulations. The effort has been apparently recognized by the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Notably, The ICC has been positioned as the only private organization whom is entitled as the permanent observer at the UN General Assembly.
As a part of the ICC’s global network, the ICC Thailand was founded in 1999 by the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industries and Banking (JSCCIB), which is comprised of the Board of Trade of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Bankers' Association. The ICCThailand promotes free and fair international trade and investment. Our mandate is to facilitate Thai business sectors to voice out their concerns through the ICC’s international business community. Currently, the ICC Thailand is managed by the Executive Board Members and ten specialized commission such as arbitration and dispute resolution, banking, commercial law and practice, energy and environment and digital economy etc.

The ICC Thailand facilitated a number of business concerns raised by Thai business sectors and shared local cases to the ICC’s global network that contributed as a part of international trade terms such as the International Commercial Terms (Incoterms®), Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) and Arbitration rules. Moreover, the ICC Thailand has been educating local entrepreneurs to have the better comprehension of knowledge and useful tools so they can apply the principles when they do international business and collaborate partnership with Ministry of Commerce. The activities aim to enhance capabilities of Thai entrepreneurs to the international level. The ICC Thailand serves as the intermediary for the business community that assists, facilitates, and support entrepreneurs by leveraging the ICC’s global network to solve international trade matters.

The ICC Thailand Chairman further emphasized that such economic challenges still remains in 2022 especially international trade and export situation e.g. spread of a new strain of covid, freight cost, supply-chain disruption, and the rise of oil prices. It would effect and limit Thailand’s economic growth as it mainly involves Thailand’s international trade conditions. To solve these international trade challenges, the ICC Thailand viewed that both private-public sectors need to work seamlessly in order to improve key economic indicators. Furthermore, the ICC Thailand has outlooked that a key in driving international trade is to develop necessary capabilities amongst potential entrepreneurs, get them being ready to deal/mitigate risks, and build competitive advantages before entering into foreign markets.

In 2022, the ICC Thailand will continue to promote and support international trade amongst potential business sectors/entrepreneurs. The 5 key action plans are described as follows:

1. Bring digitization to support Digital Trade 
The ICC Headquarters, in cooperate with various international organizations and business communities are pushing various measures to transform into digitization, both legal regulatory, promoting the international standards, including the development of digital connectivity via API. Example is the standardization of shipping instruments, Bill of Lading, which is a key to accelerate development of the Electronic Bill of Lading. For this reason, all shipping companies have started to develop a globally standardized eB/L service which will drive the digitization of documents to Digital Trade Transaction completely and expected to reduce of 4 billion papers per year. It will also shorten processes that previously took more than 15-45 days. In the future, collection period will be reduced to 1 day and will enable payment obligation/undertaking, bringing more financial flexibility since it can be used as a tool for asking trade finance with financial institutions to increase liquidity as well.
In addition, ICC Thailand, ICC Digital Standard Initiative (DSI) working group, and the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industries and Banking (JSCCIB) have jointly a cooperation project to develop the National Digital Trade Platform to become the country's main platform for Digital Trade Transaction and also a gateway that will link trade data of both private and government sectors in one place, This will making Thailand ready for the transformation into digital trade transactions in the near future.

2. Increase Business Opportunity and Save the Environment through Green Loan
The ICC Thailand drives for financial institutions to support green financing to large businesses. This is because large enterprises creates a strong impact on the environment. This would alert private sector to be aware of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To do this, it also makes Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), (who involve in the supply chain) to determine on the environmental impact as well. The ICC Thailand sees that if financial institutions push for a concrete green loan policy, it will incentivize the business sector to comply with conditions to reduce environmental impact. Moreover, business sector would get benefit from lower financial interests. This will create an opportunity for export sector to consolidate a policy/protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will also create sustainability in business and a positive impact on the economy, environment and society.

3. Promote ICC Arbitration in Thailand 
ICC Thailand aim to promoting and encouraging international trade business use arbitration which will create incentives and encourage trade and investment in Thailand. This will make it easier to negotiate trade, achieve the objective and build confidence for foreign businessmen who have trading partners in Thailand.
Since the epidemic situation of COVID, there are new trade disputes that have resulted in disruption of the business sector. Will the disruption affect the performance of the contract? There is still no certain norm that COVID is a Force Majeure or not. In this situations, ICC Arbitration and Mediation are useful tools for business sectors to resolve trade dispute because the arbitrator will have expertise and know the nature of the business. This will give you an idea of how the impact of COVID affects the performance of contracts by parties. Therefore, it is important to promote and support to use of ICC arbitration for business sectors in Thailand.

4. Enhancing knowledge of international trade
One of our continuous mission is capability building and knowledge enhancement for business and entrepreneurs who are interested and working in international trade. They can alternatively select the most suitable international trade terms for their transaction such as FOB, CIF or CFR etc. The ICC Thailand has organized training and seminars throughout the year such as Incoterms2020 seminar, Roles of Origin for tax benefit and Force Majeure. And also to educate businesses and entrepreneurs to understand international trade contracts by follow the ICC’s international trade standard contract and make it easy for both parties to start their international trade transaction.

5. Encouraging businesses to consider cybersecurity 
The ICC Thailand has been working with the ICC headquarter in Paris on digital issues. We joined the working group in the discussion on cybersecurity and responsible behavior in cyberspace.  The working group seeks closer collaboration between business and government to ensure best practices on cybersecurity in order to avoid a wider economic and social impact caused by cybersecurity threats.  We encourage the implementation of State cyber norms and cooperation on cybercrime.  Business-critical infrastructure has to be protected.  ICC’s Cybersecurity Guide is expected to be available as of Q2 of 2022 as practical resources and tools for businesses. 
ICC Thailand also participated in a proposed project by ICC on Global Business Principles on Artificial Intelligence.  The proposed project seeks to develop a set of principles that would help businesses create and promote artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is innovative, trustworthy, and human-centric.  AI as a general-purpose technology has the potential to increase productivity and build cost-effective solutions for businesses.  But AI’s economic impact also holds challenges for society and the role of humans.  Therefore, ICC Thailand is working to provide a common private sector perspective that is suitable for businesses.