Apr 1, 2013

Thailand - Japan backs Thailand as ASEAN Economic Community hub

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BANGKOK, March 29 – Japan fully advocates Thailand’s vision to become the hub of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) given the country’s capability as a business springboard for the Mekong region, according to the Japanese ambassador to Bangkok.

Shigekazu Sato also urged Thailand to support Japanese investment in the kingdom and create additional mechanisms to enhance bilateral trade and cooperation.

Speaking Thursday he said that Thailand should find additional measures, besides the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA), to encourage more Japanese investment in the country. JTEPA is a free-trade agreement between the two countries.

Mr Sato said Japanese auto investment in Thailand represents 90 per cent of the total auto industry with an investment value of 15 per cent. There are 1,400 Japanese companies and 50,000 citizens in Thailand.

Industry Minister Prasert Bunchaisuk, speaking at the seminar entitled “Thailand Upparalleled Opportunities,” said among the 1,584 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects which have a combined value of Bt647 billion, 872 projects are operated by the Japanese private sector with a total investment value of Bt373.985 billion or 57.7 per cent of the total FDI.

The Thai Board of Investment (BoI) has targeted applications for investment privileges at a total value of Bt600 billion this year and half of them will be foreign investments, he said.

BoI Secretary General Udom Wongviwatchai said Thailand will give more emphasis on new industries concerning the country's education base, innovation, alternative energy, medical equipment and logistics.

He said the Industry Ministry plans to build eight industrial estates for small- and medium enterprises in Thailand’s Northeast, the North, Central and Southern regions.

The seminar on Thursday was jointly organised by the BoI and Japan's Nikkei Business magazine and was attended by more than 200 Japanese businessmen in Thailand.

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