Thailand, Japan joint prepare for AEC

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BANGKOK, Feb 3 – The Japan-Thailand Joint Trade and Economic Committee and the Ministry of Industry are preparing together for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), but Japan will propose changes to Board of Investment (BoI) promotional privilege criteria by the end of next month.

Eizo Kobayashi, chairman of the Japan-Thailand Joint Trade and Economic Committee delegation, met Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukavanich to discuss infrastructure development, trade and investment topics and seek Thai government support for operators and AEC preparations.

Mr Chakramon said that the Japanese delegation wanted changes to the BoI’s new promotional privilege criteria that took effect on January 1.

The criteria aim to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness in the global arena, he said, and Japan will propose the changes within March.

However, Thailand should remain attractive to Japanese investors as its economy is the second biggest in the region after Indonesia and it already entered the AEC and thus would upsize its markets from 60 million to 600 million consumers, the minister said.

Besides, Thailand’s infrastructure and population size continued to interest Japanese investors, he added.

About 500 Japanese small- and medium-sized enterprises will invest in Thailand this year. If each arrives with a Bt500 million investment, about 25 billion baht should flow into the country this year, Mr Chakramon said.

The Japanese government was encouraging 10,000 SMEs to invest overseas and last year Japanese operators invested more than Bt200 billion in Thailand, the industry minister said.