The Minister said that his country had
realized early on the
importance of biotechnology to the country and its people and had
formed the National Center
for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
), a subsection of the
Ministry of Science in 1983.
the Country formed a National Biotechnology Committee chaired by the
Minister to further encourage this new field.
This was followed shortly thereafter by the country’s first Science Park
established in Bangkok
suburbs and in the campus or in close proximity to several well known
In 2004, the Cabinet
approved a national
policy framework for biotechnology
with six key goals. In 2005, the
noted the success of the first science park which had grown to be a hub
between 40-50 biotech start-ups and also had led to the construction of
neighboring private sector biotech research facility by further announcing the
establishment of a second science park in Chiangmai in the North and
additional parks in Burapa (in the East), Songkhla (in the South) and
The Minister who is a graduate of Wilbraham
has had a long career in Thai government.
He has previously served as both Minister and Deputy Minister of
Industry, Chairman, House Committee on Energy, Minister to the Prime
Office and as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health.
This wide range of experience in both
business and government and in the key health portfolio gives him a
of the needs and the challenges that Thailand faces as it moves to
in biotechnology and expansion of its own domestic biotech field.
above) H.E. Minister Korn in his recent meetings arranged by Runckel
& Associates (www.Business-in-Asia.com)
for Thailand Board of Investment (BOI)
with investors who are interested in Thailand
The Minister said Thailand’s strategy
was to increase
efforts to bring Thailand’s unique bio resources, well trained research
engineering expertise, the unique geographic location of Thailand as a
for export and service to neighboring countries like China, India, all
Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the countries rapid
concluding Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with China, India, Australia,
AFTA (all of Southeast Asia) and with the U.S. and Japan in the final
negotiating stages to the attention of major western biotech companies
He noted that Thailand
has long had a strong and consistent policy of support to business and
has been demonstrated since the 1960s and 70s when he first
Further Thailand has proven
over the years to be a much stronger protector of Intellectual Property
and a more unified government better able to control corruption and
between levels of hierarchy (province, city, nation) than China and
which can be seen in some respects to be seen as the two claws of the
cracker with Thailand in between.
Minister Korn said that with local biotech companies, Thailand
was promoting a policy that encouraged these companies to look at
where the import content was low, where know-how or intellectual
existed locally and where the country could work to build brand
and get higher value added.
said that his government had established a large number of programs
start-up biotech ventures and joint ventures in research,
biotech, clinical trials and other projects with foreign firms.
Within his Ministry, these efforts are headed
up by the National Technological Development Science Agency (NSTDA),
Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) and
the National Research Council that reports to the Prime Minister.
Significant further biotech research occurs
in the Ministry of Agriculture and throughout Thailand
many Universities such as Chulalongkorn, Mahidol, Chiangmai, Kasetsart
The Minister noted recent
efforts in high value fruit that would soon be exported to the U.S.
certain efforts in “green” growing techniques for herbs and other
products as the types of biotech programs he hoped to see accelerate in
The Minister also noted his Ministry was targeting “green”
energy including wind, solar, biomass, bio-oils, ethanol, gasohol, etc.
to reduce the high import charges for petroleum which were greatly
He said his Ministry was further increasing
efforts to further expand Thai capabilities in bioenergy and
biotechnology as it affected this sector. In
terms of producing the raw materials for bioenergy,
will be required to alter the plants in question and to mass-produce
already was making considerable progress in biomass conversion and in
ethanol/gasohol and was now looking at further developments in bio-oils
other green energy.