Li Yong, director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), last week met with Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula and praised the Thai government on its attempts to improve the industrial sector and promotional privileges offered by the government’s Board of Investment (BoI).
Pridiyathorn told journalists later that talks with Li, a former deputy finance minister in China, focused on how to further develop Thailand’s industrial sector, and the BoI’s promotional privileges given to industrial factories which help in conservation of environment and energy.
He said Li told him that the UN felt comfortable that Thailand was going in the right direction, especially on the country’s assistance to neighboring countries to also grow by investing in those nations.
Assuring Li that Thailand’s economy would grow, Pridiyathorn said he had also told him that about 1,800 new factories would be established in Thailand in the next 4-5 months while some 2,400 had already been opened.
Besides creating new jobs, combined investment of new factories would total about Bt450 billion.
But problems remain in Thailand’s exports as key importers, including the US and European countries, are confronted with a sluggish economy, he told Li.
He also briefed Li on a proposal by the Chinese government to the Thai administration to jointly seek loans from the Export-Import Bank of China to fund the dual rail track for 873 kilometers in the kingdom, in which the interest rate is reportedly higher than that offered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in the past.
Pridiyathorn said loans which would be funded on the project are “not a problem” because the government could borrow from local financial institutions.
The important point lies in verifying the actual cost, he added.