Published: 24 May 2013 at 12.13
TOKYO – Thailand will go the extra mile to accommodate the wishes of long-term Japanese investors by introducing new regulations more in line with the recommendations they have made, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Friday
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra addresses the audience at the 19th Future of Asia conference in Tokyo.
“Let me first apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused, and rest assured that we are now working on the process, with the Deputy Prime Minister (Kittiratt Na-Ranong) and the Board of Investment (BoI) working on it,” Ms Yingluck told a packed audience of investors and bankers in Tokyo.
“We will try to work out and implement regulations that will suit the investors, as we want to make Thailand the regional hub,” she said, but did not elaborate on the planned changes.
She asked the investors to be patient until these changes can be made.
“Please be patient with Thailand and we will amend and change the regulations for you and other investors. Our government will try to make sure that Thailand will be a good place for investments for you all in the future,” she said, drawing loud applause.
The BoI had recently put off the planned implementation of changes to the law that would have taken away some of the incentives offered to “less environmentally friendly” companies and given more incentives to high-technology and the 10 sectors that Thailand wants as a future growth phase.
Ms Yingluck said the the incentives would be adapted in line with recommendations made by investors, which should make them more comfortable about establishing a base in Thailand.
On the question of the impact of the stronger Thai baht, she said it was necessary for all sides to work together in tackling this issue. It was a problem caused by the quantitative easing measures by the US, UK, EU and Japan.
“While this can be seen as a strength in our economic fundamentals, Asia needs to work together to manage the inflows productively, to ensure stability in the region,” she added.
“Some say funds flow like water. I believe there should be cooperation between all countries through which the water flows, so that all can benefit and grow together. Together, we can create immunity by building a vibrant regional market to absorb goods, products and services, while at the same time, excess funds can be used for investments to benefit the whole region.”
She said that part of these fund flows can be then used for the building of infrastructure for the region and this is something that Thailand is looking to undertake with its two trillion baht spending programme for all parts of the country.
“We plan to invest about two trillion baht over the next seven years, including [investment in] the south of Thailand,” she said, when asked why the South was the only region trailing in development.
The South’s lack of development had a lot to do with politics in the past, she said.
“In the past the South did not see that much investment, but this year we will work on the strengthening of investments, we will not just invest in infrastructure but also industries, and the government will allocate more budget funds for the South of Thailand as well,” Ms Yingluck said.
Ms Yingluck is in Tokyo with a delegation including Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, Industry Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk, Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and PM’s Office Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and business representatives.