Thai-US Creative Partnership

The Thai-US Creative Partnership, which was launched in 2010, will help expand the horizon of possibilities of cooperation between Thailand and the United States.

In his remarks at a dinner hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand on March 7 at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel in Bangkok, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that a creative partnership would allow Thailand and the United States to fully realize the economic potential of their creative industries, creative cities, and most importantly, their most creative minds.

As the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, with one of the best geographical locations in the world, he said, Thailand offers a fertile ground for the growth of creative industries. Its rich national heritage, culture, and talents are second to none. Thailand has also been ranked by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development as 17th in the world’s top 20 creative goods exporters. The total export value of Thai creative goods at one point was 4.3 million US dollars, with an average growth rate of around 5 percent per year.

Prime Minister Abhisit said that both countries have already agreed to start off with seven industries in which Thailand has potential and the US has interests. These industries are information technology, design, arts and animation/audio-visual, clean energy and green technology, health, food and agro-technology, and financial systems to support creative and innovative industries. He fully supports these initial seven industries.

The Prime Minister pointed out that Thailand looks to the United States as its strategic partner and ally since they continue to promote accomplishments in many fields, including their creative industries overseas. To this day, the United States maintains a lead in the unfolding creative economy. He said that working in what is still the largest consumer market in the world, and in an open, democratic, and competitive environment, gives American companies a significant edge. The US economic growth is traditionally based on the work ethic, creativity, and innovation. Its ability to “think outside the box” is what Thailand wants to learn from the United States.

At the same time, he said, Thailand also has an abundance of creativity to share. It believes that while production can be a result of strenuous labor and hard work, requiring patience and persistence, innovation and creativity are what need to be nourished through education and the environment in which people live, learn, and work.

According to the Prime Minister, Thailand and the United States can work more closely together in many areas. With regard to design, Thailand has great potential to become a design center in Asia. While the United States is one of the global design centers, Thai designers and design companies do possess great talents and potential. They can work well with the American design industry in fostering the design sectors of both countries.

In the areas of film, animation, advertising, and entertainment, he said, everyone immediately thinks of Hollywood, and the United States as a whole is certainly the most important global hub for these businesses. Thailand has been moving center stage in these fields in Southeast Asia, as well. There are clearly plenty of emerging opportunities in which both sides could work and complement each other in these sectors. Food and food-related businesses, herbal products, and innovative health services are also areas where Thailand is fast forging ahead of its global competitors. As one of the world’s leading food exporters, he said, Thailand should be America’s natural partner in developing technology that can help build the necessary foundations to ensure global food security.

Regarding the “green energy technology,” Prime Minister Abhisit called on Thailand and the United States to work together to produce more green patents and turn these green patents into green factories and green jobs for their peoples. He also urged both sides to move forward full speed in making concrete progress in the Thai-US Creative Partnership. They can expand business opportunities through joint ventures, participation in showcase events, commercialization and marketing of research products in the US market, and capacity-building of human resources in creative industries.

He added that Thailand is looking to legislate and enforce effective rights protections, upgrade its registration system, and streamline procedures for all types of intellectual property. It remains as committed as ever to the removal of barriers to protecting intellectual property, patents, and copyrights in order to provide better certainty to both Thai and US innovators, as they turn their ideas into energy, industries, and jobs. At the same time, Thailand also encourages producers of creative products to consider fair pricing to ensure access to such products by consumers, especially for educational and medical purposes.