Thailand eyes becoming regional trade centre

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BANGKOK, Nov 21 — The Thai government is amending laws aimed at persuading foreign businesses to set up their regional operating headquarters in Thailand, a move which would enable the kingdom to become a regional trading centre like Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said on Friday.

He told participants attending a seminar that the amending law would be forwarded to the cabinet for its approval early next year.

It would help boost Thailand’s gross domestic product to between 5-6 per cent in the next two years and would not cause a bubble economy in the country.

The law would also help increase the role of Thailand’s economy with neighbouring countries and is also designed to encourage Thai businesses to invest internationally, said Mr Pridiyathorn.

Development in Thailand in the past resulted from private investment which has now reached its saturated point due to the shortage of labour and land for investment, causing an investment slowdown since 2010 and eventually affecting the country’s GDP which grew between 3-4 per cent only, he said.

Therefore, there is a need for amending the tax system to facilitate foreign businesses to set up regional operating headquarters in Thailand and to also encourage Thai businesses to invest in abroad, Mr Pridiyathorn said.

The government will invest in major infrastructure projects to cater to the “digital economy,” such as establishing a massive broadband to assist businesses, he added.