OSMEPOffice of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (Thailand)
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In terms of institutional structure (see Figure 4), there are similarities among the three countries except for the fact that the Philippines does not have the equivalent of SMIDEC (Malaysia) and OSMEP (Thailand), which serve as powerful coordinating and monitoring bodies in the implementation of SME programs and activities.
The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP 2011) also points out that Thailand's exports greatly rely on large enterprises and therefore both the public and private sectors should pay attention to promoting greater international trade participation by SMEs.
However, the precise criteria differs in each of the four business sectors (see Table 2) (Brimble, Oldfield and Monsakul 2002; OSMEP 2002; 2003).
With respect to SME exports, the major export markets for Thai SMEs in 2011 were China, Hong Kong, Japan, United States, Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and Singapore, accounting for 11.6 per cent, 11.4 percent, 10.7 per cent, 7.7 per cent, 5.0 per cent, 4.8 per cent, 4.4 per cent, 3.0 per cent, 2.8 per cent and 2.7 per cent of SMEs' total value of exports, respectively (OSMEP 2008).
According to the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP 2012), Thai business segments have fallen under the Nut-Cracker Effect, implying that Thailand is trapped between countries with greater price competitiveness--such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia--and countries with more skilled labour and higher productivity that can differentiate their output by concentrating on higher value-added products and services--such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
In the context of Thailand, a large number of SMEs face difficulties in accessing formal sources of funding due to limitations that are characteristic of SMEs, such as small size, lack of fixed assets, a lack of systematic accounting and lack of a business plan (OSMEP 2007a; OSMRJ 2008; OSMEP 2009).
In the domestic market, Thai SMEs face intense competition from large enterprises and from imported products, such as from the modern trade discount and convenience stores (OSMEP 2007b; Punyasavatsut 2010; OECD 2011).
With respect to product quality and technological advances, Thai SMEs are unable to compete with SMEs in other countries such as Italy, Japan, Taiwan due to their entrenchment in labour-intensive, low-skill, low-value-adding activities and use of outdated technology (OSMEP 2007a; 2007b; Tambunan 2008).
Prior to the signing ceremony, a meeting was held between the HKTDC, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, Thailand's Minister of Industry, Uttama Savanayana, the Director General of Thailand's Department of Industrial Promotion, Pasu Loharjun, and representatives of OSMEP and the SME Development Bank of Thailand.
OSMEP, with the status of a governmental agency, is responsible for stipulating SME promotion policies and is committed to creating better domestic and overseas business environment for Thai SMEs.
(Photo:) The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Thailand's Office of SMEs Promotion (OSMEP) sign a Memorandum of Understanding on 27 April 2017.