Siam Cement Group expresses concern about Thailand’s competitiveness should the government raise the minimum wage.
Siam Cement Group, or SCG, Managing Director Kalin Sarasin expressed his concern about the Pheu Thai government’s policy to increase the minimum wage for workers, saying that it would also result in an increase in the prices of construction materials as production costs would go up.
He said the measure would decrease Thailand’s competitiveness in terms of export compared with neighboring countries, such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, as labor cost there is cheaper.
Kalin said if the government decides to proceed with the plan, there needs to be a measure to support production costs for manufacturers.
He is of the view that the exchange rate should follow market mechanisms and not be fixed.
Meanwhile, Kalin said SCG Trading should be able to achieve sales target of 50 billion baht, an 18-percent growth from the same period last year.
He said SCG Trading’s current trading partners include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines, and that it has plans to expand by adding branches in six more destinations, namely New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Europe and West Africa.
Burma’s Dawei megaproject will also drive demand for building materials in neighbouring countries, while Thai products could be shipped via the Thai border with Burma in Kanchanaburi to a deep-sea port in Dawei for export to bigger markets such as India and Bangladesh.