Pisit Serewiwattana – President, EXIM Thailand

Established in 1993, the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand), is a state-owned specialised financial institution. Its core objective is to support the country’s export, import and investment communities by providing them with credit facilities, guarantees and risk insurance

BIG talks to EXIM Thailand’s President, Pisit Serewiwattana.

What is  Exim’s role in encouraging investment into Thailand?

Under the terms of Thailand’s 20-year Strategic Plan, one of EXIM Thailand’s  primary functions is to support domestic investment in targeted industries including new industries – infrastructure, renewable and green energy development. More specifically, we benchmark our trade and investment promotion to the country’s GNI (Gross National Income) and our goal is to increase out contribution to GNI contribution from $5bn  2018 to $16bn by 2027.

How important is it for you to grow Thai exports?

Export remains among our top priorities as it continues to be the main engine of growth for Thailand. Therefore, our key mandate remains to support export. However, as the world trade pattern is gradually changing towards the so-called investment-induced trade, our current focus has been shifted somewhat towards overseas investment which we expect to eventually surpass the trade volume.

How involved are in the development of the region as a whole CLMV ?

For over two decades, we have been providing support to Thai enterprises engaging in trade and investment in the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam). We have given financial backing to hydropower, coal-fired power plants and refineries in Lao PDR; airport and gas pipeline construction, infrastructure development in Myanmar; air traffic control, road construction and hotel projects in Cambodia; and cement factory and service apartment in Vietnam. We were there at a time  time when most commercial banks regarded these territories as too risky for business. In that sense, we see our role as being not o only to expand Thai entrepreneurs’ boundaries and prospects,  but also to foster regional economic growth.

How would you describe your modus operandi?

Although we are a government organization, the way we work must incorporate the efficiency and expediency of the private sector mentality. While we uphold the principle of resilience and efficiency, we try to encourage our staff to embrace well-calculated risks. Because if we don’t behave in such a way, we will be caught in our comfort zone and afraid to reach out to our full potential for the greater benefits of the Thai businesses and their trade and investment partners overseas.

Pisit Serewiwattana began his career in financial service as a trader with JPMorgan Chase. After a spell as  Head of Treasury at Credit Agricole Indosuez Bank, he was appointed  Head of Corporate Finance at a domestic bank that was later merged with CIMB Bank. From there he took up his first public-sector role as Senior Executive Vice President of Investment and Financial Management Group.