Top Thai economist predicts that Senator Kamala Horris will become the first female US president while government officials are preparing for a reopening and flourishing of trade under a more multilateral and neo-liberal US administration which will significantly improve Thailand’s export prospects if the projected election result is confirmed.

As Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan ocha, congratulates US President-Elect Joseph Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris, officials in the kingdom, as well as economic experts, are beginning to see a noticeably brighter picture for Thai exports to America which, despite the pandemic, are up in the first nine months of the year by 7.4%. Meanwhile, the incumbent President, Donald Trump, continues to mount an escalating legal challenge to the projected election result which will not be confirmed until December 14th and ratified by the US Congress on January 6th in what is the most contentious US Presidential election in modern history.

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President-elect Joe Biden’s projected win in the US Presidential election is being heralded in Thailand as a major boost to the kingdom’s economy. As the Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan ocha, warmly congratulated both Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris, a top Thai economic expert at Chulalongkorn University, Dr Piti Srisangnam, sees potential for a marked improvement in trade conditions within one or two years. He also predicts that Senator Harris will be the first female US president.

Thailand’s Prime Minister has sent congratulations to the projected winner of the US presidential election, Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to be elected President formally by the US College of Electors on December 14th next and later ratified by the US Congress on January 6th 2021. This is according to a consensus among large US media outlets despite a contentious series of legal challenges from incumbent US President Donald Trump.

‘I wish to extend to you and Senator Kamala Harris my warm congratulations on your election victory and the trust that you have earned from American voters.’ General Prayut wrote in a warm message to the incoming US administration.

US election result warmly welcomed in Thailand

The election result has been welcomed in Thailand with record gains seen on the SET stock exchange on Monday and Tuesday also being boosted by news of a breakthrough vaccine from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer which is reported to be 90% effective. The exchange rose by 4.37% alone on Tuesday.

The election result is coming when Thailand’s exports to the United States are already doing particularly well with a significant 7.4% improvement in 2020 to the end of September compared to 2019 when the United States was also Thailand’s largest customer and export market. By comparison, exports to China, this year, are only up 3.7%.

 It is welcome news in a catastrophic year when Thai exports are expected to contract by 7.3% globally driving the economy down by up to 7.7% with the country’s borders still closed to mass tourism.

Multilateralism in world affairs is the environment in which Thailand thrives not strife and conflict

It is understood that the Thai government sees any administration led by President-elect Biden as placing an emphasis on multilateralism in world affairs which will help Thailand’s efforts to boost trade access and gradually ease dangerous tensions still brewing between the United States and China which will be of direct benefit to the kingdom.

Thailand has shown itself to be particularly susceptible to a deterioration in the world trade environment and the spin-off effects of US Chinese rivalry.

Thailand’s exports took a nosedive immediately after US President Donald Trump escalated his trade war with China in the first quarter of 2019.

 This weekend, as Biden was declared the winner by nearly all large media outlets and press agencies in the US, Dr Piti Srisangnam of Chulalongkorn University, an economist, predicted that it will still take between one and two years to unravel the impediments to trade erected by the current US President and to create a more open and perhaps new framework.

Chulalongkorn expert sees Biden still standing up to China’s expansionism but facilitating a better atmosphere within one to two years

Dr Piti said he foresees the new President still taking a strong line to halt Chinese expansionism and protecting US trade but said it would be in the context of a more liberal environment.

He ruled out any suggestion that the US may attempt to rejoin the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump jettisoned at the beginning of his term when it was the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Nonetheless, he did not rule out the US putting together a new trade initiative for the Indo Pacific that may bring in India.

He pointed out that the current bombastic and hardline policy pursued by Trump had pushed Thailand more into China’s sphere of influence when it comes to trade.

The economics expert also predicted that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will emerge as a key driving force in this new administration.

He even tipped her to be, at some point, the first female US president.

Latest Trump trade move against Thailand dismissed

The burgeoning of hope among economic analysts in Asia and indeed among Thai officials, at the presumed Biden Harris win, has led most observers to dismiss the impact of the removal of tariff protection preferences on Thai products announced by the Trump administration just before the election on 231 types of exports. 

In recent days, officials at the Ministry of Commerce have revealed that the moves which will only affect 141 products such as specialised rubber, selected plastics as well as chemicals and steering wheels which are valued at only $19 million or ฿600 million. These products will now be more expensive in America to import.

Warnings about a second Trump term

Kasikorn Research Centre, part of the Kasikorn Bank Group, has also clarified that a Biden presidency does mean an easier ride for Thailand.

A Trump win, according to its October outlook, would have spelt even stronger trade tensions and further pressure on the kingdom.

The US has just announced the imposition of tariffs on light tyres from Vietnam after it commenced an investigation into the country for currency manipulation. Similar probes are in place relating to Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand.

Not all word leaders are endorsing Biden/Harris yet

In the meantime, it has emerged that Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro are both withholding any congratulatory messages until the escalated legal challenges brought by Trump have been resolved and the incoming administration confirmed according to US electoral laws.

This will entail Mr Biden and Ms Harris being confirmed by the College of Electors based on state delegates or electors being appointed by their respective legislatures, a quaint process which usually occurs on December 14th in a presidential election year.

The final votes for both positions will then tallied and certified on January 6th 2021 by the US Congress with the inauguration of the new president taking place on Wednesday, January 20th 2021.

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