Gov’t moves to make Thailand regional trading hub

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The government hopes that it could propose a plan to the National Legislative Assembly before year-end to make Thailand a regional trading hub which could help push national economic growth to more than 4 percent annually, said Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula.

Concerned authorities have already completely amended regulations, while it needs a slight adjustment of tax procedures, Pridiyathorn said, adding that he hoped the plan could be tabled to the Assembly sometime this month.

It is hoped that several foreign private firms would seek to establish trading headquarters in Thailand after the proposal is approved because the country could manufacture various products for trading, he said.

It would be difficult to see Thailand’s annual economic growth at over 4 percent in the future if the plan to make Thailand the regional trading hub did not materialize, he said.

Investment in the country could not expand much due to high labor costs and labor shortages and they would negatively affect national economic growth.

Pridiyathorn said he is optimistic that economic growth could remain above 4 percent in “just over a year” if Thailand could become a regional trading hub.

The private sector has recently expressed that the plan, if materialized, could boost several activities, including increasing the number of conferences and boosting tourism in the country.

The cabinet recently approved a proposal to promote the setting up of international headquarters as well as international trading companies in Thailand.

Under the proposal, procedures on applying for promotional privileges offered by the state-run Board of Investment (BoI) would be streamlined along with a reduction of registered capital requirements to not less than Bt10 million, as well as adjusting issuance of visa procedures and work permits in the kingdom.