BCG Economy Model: Boon or bane for Thailand?

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BCG Economy Model: Boon or bane for Thailand?

BCG Economy Model: Boon or bane for Thailand?


The Thai government worked hard to promote its so-called BCG (bio-circular-green) Economy Model during Apec 2022 despite strong opposition from some environmental groups.

Thailand also managed to secure consensus from leaders of the 21 member countries to adopt the “Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy” as they wrapped up their meeting on Saturday.
The BCG concept was introduced by the research community and promoted by the government as a new economic model for inclusive and sustainable growth.
The model apparently capitalises on Thailand’s strengths in biological diversity and cultural wealth, and employs technology and innovation to help transform the economy into a value-based, innovation-driven one.
The model also conforms to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is also intended to align with the sufficiency economy philosophy. The sufficiency economy philosophy is also the key principle of Thailand’s social and economic development.

The government adopted the BCG economic model as the 2021-2026 “national agenda” with the goal of boosting the country’s gross domestic product by 1 trillion baht within that period.
According to the National Science and Technology Development Agency, the BCG model focuses on promoting four key industries – agriculture and food; medical and wellness; bioenergy, biomaterial and biochemical; and tourism and creative economy.
Science, technology and innovation will be employed to enhance the capacity and competitiveness of players in the value chain, both upstream and downstream, in the four industries, coupled with innovative policy and supportive legal and financial measures.
The four industries currently have a combined economic value of 3.4 trillion baht, accounting for 21% of Thailand’s GDP. The BCG model is expected to raise this economic value to 4.4 trillion baht, or 24% of GDP, by 2026.
However, some environmental groups have voiced concerns.
Penchom Saetang, director of Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH), warned that the amount of toxic waste imported to Thailand for recycling would hit dangerous levels if members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) adopted the BCG economic model.
Greenpeace Thailand director Tara Buakamsri also warned that adopting the BCG economic model would only make large capitalist groups in Thailand even stronger, further widening the wealth gap.

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