Oct 18, 2012

Thailand - Japan keen to invest in Thailand

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Japan will increase its foreign direct investment in Asia, particularly in Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, says Japan's vice-minister of finance.

"The Japanese government is very much willing to support investment in infrastructure in the Asean region by both the government and private sectors," Tsutomu Okubo told the Bangkok Post.

He pointed to Thailand's plans to improve its mass transit and rail infrastructure as one area that Japanese companies could assist.

"Japan currently is faced with a strong yen and deflation," Mr Okubo said on the sidelines of Monday's Asia-Europe Finance Ministers' Meeting.

"But [Japanese companies] have been in an ongoing trend to relocate to Southeast Asia and Thailand, so I think the trend of [Japanese] foreign direct investment will increase."

Japan has long been one of the largest investors in Thailand.

In the first half of this year, Japanese investors applied for investment promotions for projects worth 130 billion baht.

Thailand last year was Japan's seventh most popular destination for foreign direct investment in value terms with investment of 550 billion (214 billion baht).

"There really is a strong relationship between Japan and Thailand," said Mr Okubo, noting that despite last year's widespread floods Japanese companies have shown little inclination to relocate their either their manufacturing or production bases.

Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam are all countries that should benefit from an increase in Japanese FDI thanks to relatively inexpensive labour costs, good education systems and skilled labour, he said.

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