Finance minister preparing Thailand for AEC

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BANGKOK, 5 September 2011  – Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala has voiced the government’s readiness to put the finance and banking sectors ready for the upcoming establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

Speaking in an economic seminar on Monday, the minister stated that the government will implement policies to ready the country for the AEC such as the reduction of corporate income tax from 30% to 23% in 2012 and to 20% in 2013 so that the rate will be close to other ASEAN countries.

As for the monetary policy, Mr Thirachai elaborated that he will discuss with the Bank of Thailand (BoT) ways to invite leading banks from other ASEAN countries to open their branches in Thailand to serve customers from their own countries and will promote Thai banks to operate overseas.

The minister believed that Thai banks are strong enough to compete in the global market and will benefit from the difference in interest rates. He added that he will find ways to reduce taxes to promote investment because he viewed that foreign investment here is still in the same level as other countries in the region.

Mr Thirachai also encouraged the ASEAN Secretariat to expand its roles, especially in legal actions and procedures against investors committing financial crimes in ASEAN members.