Thai PM reaffirms Thailand as Japan’s strong economic partner

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JAPAN, March 7 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday boosted confidence among Japanese investors and affirmed Thailand’s readiness to be Japan’s strong economic partner, during her official visit to the country this week, beginning Tuesday and ending on Saturday.

Ms Yingluck spoke at a seminar organised by Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), ‘Thailand creating the future’, as part of the agency’s roadshows to boost foreign investor confidence. The seminar was attended by over 1,200 Japanese investors.

According to the Thai premier, Japan is a highly important trading partner for Thailand and both countries have had long relations. She said Thailand is increasing its potential to attract Japanese investments.

Due to Thailand’s flood crisis last year, Ms Yingluck said her government allocated a budget of Bt350 billion to implement an effective water management plan to protect industrial estates where many Japanese plants are located, while integrated centres to deal with flood problems immediately are to be set up and ready by the end of this month. She said she was confident that foreign investments in Thailand can be protected, as a result.

Thailand has a policy to support production and a dynamic economy, while having measures on corporate income tax reduction, infrastructure and transport development such as high-speed train construction and deep sea ports to link with other countries in the region.

Ms Yingluck said Thailand will be a distribution centre for moving Japanese goods to other member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

She noted Thailand will continue as the best choice for Japan’s continuing private investment, thanks to her administration’s policy, the strong Thai economy, skilled workers, an outstanding industrial sector and secure capital reserves.

The Thai prime minister is meeting with other Japanese representatives and investors to boost their confidence on how Thailand is rehabilitating its economy after last year’s flood crisis, to clarify sustainable solutions to flood problems, to provide assistance guidelines to Japan’s industrial sector in Thailand, and to offer guidelines to Japanese investors on investment expansion in the country.

Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano met with Ms Yingluck and expressed understanding of the Thai government’s priority to tackle water problems. He expressed appreciation for Thailand’s aid to the Japanese business sector when dealing with the floods.

Mr Yukio said he supported investments in Thailand and its solutions for flooding, while affirming he will push for more trade between the two countries. He said that Thailand will continue to be his country’s investment base in the ASEAN region.

Other representatives whom the Thai premier is to meet with and discuss include those from small and medium-sized enterprises, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as Japanese and Thai university students to express thanks for the Thai government on assisting Japan during its earthquake and tsunami last year.

Ms Yingluck is meeting with Japan’s prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and his full cabinet on Wednesday evening for stronger Thai-Japanese relations for more tangible strategic measures of the two countries.

A press conference on bilateral relations will be made following the formal discussion, after which the Japanese premier will host a dinner to honour his Thai counterpart.