Dr. Werner Mutler
Ministry of Economics and Technology
Federal Republic of Germany
The German Technology Symposium & Exhibition GTS02 is being conducted for the seventh time and can thus look back on its more than two decades of existence. It has become a regular feature in German Thai economic relations. This year, a record number of German firms and institutions will be participating. This shows that Thailand is growing in importance as a partner for German business, science, and research. The rapid recovery of Thailand’s economy after the 1997/98 crisis was a major factor in this connection. The outlook for further development in the course of this year and the next is promising.
The growing success of the GTS-events over the years shows that Thailand’s economy is changing. its increasing integration in the global economy has strengthened the country’s international competitiveness. Thailand’s production is more and more characterized by technology-oriented processes. This enhances the attractiveness of the country for foreign investors. Furthermore, Thailand is in the process of becoming a central market in Southeast Asia with an impact reaching into the neighboring countries. This trend will become stronger with the implementation of AFTA, the ASEAN Free Trade Area.
The establishment of the Joint Economic Commission has given German~ Thai business relations new drive. The Commission will presumably meet in the first half of 2003 and provide fresh impulses for bilateral cooperation. In this context, technologically demanding projects will, no doubt, stand in the foreground of consideration. This reflects the new quality of cooperation between Germany and Thailand.
The German-Thai Chamber of Commerce is responsible for the constant growth of interest in GT3. Exemplary organization has already become a hallmark of this event. This, and the strong thematic approval given to GTS by Thai partners, exercises a strong attraction particularly on small and midsized companies. But the German scientific and research community is also strongly represented, as always. This instills confidence for the future of economic cooperation between Germany and Thailand.
I am convinced that GTS02 marks a further step towards ever closer technology cooperation. It will intensify the already friendly relations between our two countries.