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Country Focus

Thailand: a tiger economy in an era of innovation Thailand is relentlessly asserting its claim as Asia’s key technologyefficient manufacturing spot, with its latest laurel – a twostep leap to becoming the 32nd most competitive economy on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) global competitiveness index. The T-Plas trade show, held in Bangkok in September, also highlighted Thailand’s strength as a manufacturing and market base. It was co-located with Pack Print International and featured six national pavilions.

Barot of Mamata was enthusiastic about the Thai packaging sector

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he second largest economy in the ten-nation ASEAN, Thailand is ardent in its pursuit to becoming, or shall we say, maintaining its Asian powerhouse standing. The Thailand 4.0 initiative, for example, where the manufacturing ecosystem will be hinged to technology and innovation, gives a worm’s eye view of the bigger, rosier economic picture Thailand is painting. The country’s economy is pillared on its strong sectors like automotive, electronics, consumer goods, building and construction, aerospace and more, with its economy growing 3.7% year-on-year in the second quarter of the year, from 3.3% during the first quarter. It has also seen an exponential growth in domestic spending in recent years, posting a growth of 3.3% yearon-year. Lucrative market for plastics Plastic products are one of Thailand’s top five exports, according to Gernot Ringling, Managing Director of Singapore-based Messe Düsseldorf Asia (MDA), which organised the recently concluded T-Plas. Speaking at the opening ceremony, he said this was “a harbinger for innovation and technological advances in the country”, thus the need for new technology. This was echoed by most of the exhibitors at the show. Austrian recycling machine manufacturer Erema said the company was promoting new technology for the Thai market as was German extrusion machinery maker Reifenhäuser. Managing Director of Reifenhäuser Singapore, Juergen Rehkopf, said that the demand for plastic products is prodding the upgrading of machinery. He added, “We notice there is a Rehkopf says Reifenhäuser general trend for more quality expects higher end lines to be films, and more customers are now taken up in Thailand considering five-layer PE structures (from the normal three-layers).” Rehkopf said there had been “a lot of requests for new equipment”, like the new Evolution Ultra Flat haul-off for producing films with improved flatness, enabling better printability and lamination capability. Seeing trends in packaging and labelling Exhibiting for the first time at T-Plas, India’s Mamata Machinery has an eye on the Thai packaging sector. Abhishek Barot, Sr Sales Executive (Export), said several potential customers had conveyed interest in the company’s blown film and converting lines.

PRA October 2017 Issue