Remarks by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN-ROK Startup Summit, 26 November 2019 BEXCO, Busan, the Republic of Korea

Remarks by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN-ROK Startup Summit, 26 November 2019 BEXCO, Busan, the Republic of Korea

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(Unofficial Translation)


Remarks by H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

at the Opening Ceremony of the ASEAN-ROK Startup Summit

26 November 2019

BEXCO, Busan, the Republic of Korea

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President Moon Jae-In,

Your Majesty,

Fellow ASEAN Leaders,

Excellencies, Startup Business Leaders, Ladies and Gentlemen,


      1. Thank you for the invitation to speak at the ASEAN-ROK Startup Summit. This event is an important part of the celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of ASEAN-ROK Dialogue Relations and a great opportunity to promote Startups. They are important to our economies.

      2. At the outset, I would like to commend the Republic of Korea on the remarkable and rapid success of its startup businesses in the global arena. This is indeed a good example of what public-private partnerships (PPP) can achieve. I believe that the ROK’s experiences and success in this area could be shared with startup businesses in Thailand and the ASEAN Member States and will be valuable in our efforts to build an ASEAN Community that is people-centered, leaves no one behind and looks to the future.

      3. Thailand attaches great importance to supporting startup businesses as this would help promote inclusive growth and sustainable development, thereby contributing to the economic resilience of the Thai economy amidst increasing competition and challenges in the region and the world. Thailand has therefore undertaken concrete measures to develop startup businesses as follows:

      4. In terms of policy, we have pushed forward and rolled out three new laws and regulations -

          First, the Startup Act – to reduce obstacles in doing business for locals and foreigners, enabling startups to get easy access to funds, supporting their rapid growth and increasing their capacity to grow in international markets;

          Second, the Sandbox Act – as both a testbed for startup-related regulations and for all types of startups to engage in product experimentation within specific requirements and a limited period of time.

          Third, the Bayh-Dole Act― to support research and innovation.

      5. In terms of infrastructure development, we have developed a National Quality Infrastructure, or NQI, system to set standards and ensure evaluation capacity in line with international agreements, contributing to the reputation and recognition of Thai goods and services in international markets. The NQI will be very important in the development of innovative products in the S-Curve industries under the Thailand 4.0 policy. The introduction of Pilot Plants in universities will also help support the growth of budding startups.

      6. In terms of human capital development, we have been working to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in Thai youths through the “Youth Startup Fund”. The approximately 3.3 million US Dollars available under this Fund will be provided to interested students so that they can develop their business ideas using the Proof-of-Concept (POC) and/or Proof-of-Value (POV) methods, and eventually devise appropriate business models to take forward as new startup businesses. We have also provided opportunities for the new generation to show their potentials and express their ideas. We have built ecosystems on university campuses conducive to the development of startup businesses. And we have introduced the “Graduate Volunteer Project” to help new graduates who are unable to find jobs spend a gap year assisting local villagers in remote areas in the development of their local communities. The “Pracharat or Public-Private-People Partnership Volunteers Project” has also been initiated for third and fourth year undergraduate students to spend one semester with local villagers. These students would then be able to transfer their volunteer work into class credit. This will help to promote the further development of knowledge and experiences garnered into business, social and creative innovations.

          7. All of these efforts are meant to feed into the creation of a conducive ecosystem for startup businesses in Thailand, and promote “Ease of Doing Innovation Business”. In addition, because of Thailand’s strengths in biodiversity and cultural diversity, we are also focusing on the promotion of Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Startups and Social Startups that are inclusive, with all sectors of society taking part.

          8. Throughout 2019, as ASEAN Chair, Thailand has been promoting cooperation between ASEAN Member States in all areas, including the economic, social and environmental dimensions. Recognising the need to promote cooperation and strengthen networks in the area of startups, Thailand organised the Southeast Asia Startup Assembly or SEASA on 24 July 2019 under the theme of Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship, that is, “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.” The Assembly was well attended by representatives from ASEAN Member States and our partners, and helped to drive forward and expand networks of cooperation and exchanges of knowledge, experts and economic resources as well as support startup businesses in the areas of data compilation, incubation, market expansion, capacity and ecosystem building to better prepare for future growth. This Meeting will be convened annually with a rotating host system.

          9. ASEAN and the Republic of Korea should continue to give importance to cooperation in the area of startups because it is consistent with the policies of both sides to promote economic growth that is dynamic, inclusive and sustainable. This is so that we encourage the new generation to take part in economic development with an emphasis on innovation. Our cooperation in promoting partnership in the area of startups between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea is also stated in the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Joint Vision Statement for Peace, Prosperity and Partnership as well as the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Plan of Action for 2021-2024. What we need to consider next is developing a network of focal points among the government agencies responsible for startup policies and cooperation so that we can share best practices and experiences in a consistent manner. In this regard, I am pleased that the Memorandum of Understanding between Thailand’s Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea was signed yesterday. I hope that the relations and cooperation in the areas of innovation and startups between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea will be further strengthened and continue to grow thereafter.          

          10. On this occasion, I wish to encourage all of us to look to the future and work together to create opportunities from technology and innovation for the advancement of the region, in particular for the greatest benefit of the people. I wish the ASEAN-ROK Startup Summit 2019 every success.

          11. Kham-sa-ham-ni-da. Thank you.


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