Japanese economic minister and investors meet with PM Economic partnership strengthened, EEC opportunity in highlight

General Press Releases Tuesday September 12, 2017 16:04
Bangkok--12 Sep--Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand

Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha welcomed Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment (METI) on Sept. 11, who led a mission of 570-high level Japanese business people and economic organisations to visit Thailand on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Thailand-Japan diplomatic relations celebration.

The PM said Japan has remained top foreign investors in Thailand and continues to have strong confidence in the country's economic potential due to the fact that Thai political stability was the highest in 10 years.

The courtesy visit has created an opportunity for the integration of Thai government's "Thailand 4.0" and Japan's "Connected Industries" strategies as the two countries has strengthened their strategic economic partnership. Both parties also explored opportunity to strengthen trade and investment, as well as cooperation to develop the 10 target industries and SMEs. The Prime Minister and the Japanese delegation also discussed the possibility of cooperation to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), comprised of three provinces, Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong. The Prime Minister also invites Japanese companies to consider business opportunities in the EECd (Eastern Economic Corridor of Digital Park) and EECi (Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation) in order to support digital industries and R&D and innovation activities respectively.

According to the EEC Development Project, the government has prepared the 5-year investment plan in transport infrastructure development that connects Bangkok to EEC and other regions nationwide. This plan includes the expansion of U-Tapao International Airport to increase passenger handling capacity from currently three million to 60 million per year by 2032, the construction of highways to make a complete road transport network, amendment of related laws, investment incentive improvement to attract more investment, and technology transfer in the target industries.

The PM said that among all partner nations, Japan stood at the forefront and was a true partner of Thailand for decades in many ways, especially trade, investment, economic and industrial development.

In 2017, Thailand and Japan celebrated the 130th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Both countries are experiencing significant economic recovery. Japan is enjoying the fastest economic growth rate in two years, resulting in more expenditure and investment. While Japan implements the Abenomics and the Connected Industries, Thailand is engaging in economic cooperation in the CLMVT countries, EEC development plan and Thailand 4.0 economic model. The two countries' economic visions are heading towards the same direction, indicating the mutual interests and prospect for close cooperation which will drive the two countries' economies to a higher level.

The Japanese mission of 570 representatives from leading investors and economic organisations led by METI Minister indicates a strong confidence in Thailand's business environment, where many new measures initiated and implemented by Thailand's Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commerce, the Eastern Economic Corridor Office and the Thailand Board of Investment.

This development clearly demonstrated Thailand's economic capability, resulting in business community's strong confidence in the Thai government, which has shown its commitment to ensuring the country's political stability.

Thai political situation was the strongest in 2017, said the Prime Minister, adding that this would encourage positive momentum in economic growth and development in other sectors and tangible result in the near future.

The PM noted that in ensuring that nation's economic development plan was well integrated, the government and concerned organisations continued to focus on the Thailand 4.0 economic model. This model matches well with Japan's Connected Industries. The government hoped the strategic partnership with Japan will lead to the integration of both country's economic model, resulting in the new concept of "Thailand 4.0 towards Connected Industries". The integration will start from forging economic partnership that covers trade cooperation, investment promotion, development of the 10 target industries and SMEs. In the end, such cooperation will support the development of EEC and make it one of the most advanced industrial hubs and landmarks of Asia.

The government also plans to make EEC the new economic hub driven by technology and innovation or EECi. The EECi will be the innovation town that is the role model of holistic technology and innovation research development. Resources will be shared and optimised since Fabrication Laboratories & Test-Bed Sandbox, and automation system and equipment innovation standard certification centers will be set up in EECi. This intelligent innovation testing zone will see regulations and legal requirements that may be obstacles to such development being relaxed.

In addition, the government has drawn a five-year transport infrastructure development in support of EEC (2017-2021). Such transport infrastructure will connect Bangkok with the eastern region of Thailand and parts nationwide as well as neighbouring countries, including Mynamar, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cambodia and South of China. Major projects under this plan are as follows:

  • 5-year U-Tapao International Airport Development Plan to increase passenger handling capacity from currently three million to five million and to 60 million by 2032
  • Dual track and high-speed rail systems that for greater efficiency in travel and transport of people and goods
  • Laem Chabang Port Development Plan Phase 3 to support increasing demand in domestic and international maritime transport in the future
  • Map Ta Phut Industrial Port Development Phase 3 which will become a major infrastructure to support liquid cargo and natural gas handling and downstream industry
  • Sattahip Port Development Project
  • Construction of three new motorways
  • The establishment of One Stop Service Center to facilitate investors in target industries

To encourage investment in the country, the government has also amended Investment Promotion Act and enforced new measures to promote more investment with more attractive incentives, as well as upgraded services to better facilitate the investors. This will encourage new investment and make Thailand the investment hub for both existing and new investors who look for opportunities to expand their businesses into the neighbouring countries. In this transition, the government aims to encourage transfer and exchange of technologies in both current and new industries, including automotive, aviation, medical equipment, and green technology. All activities will be introduced under "Smart" concept in order to promote technological advancement in all areas.

During the courtesy visit, Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth welcomed the Japanese mission at the Government House. The Japanese mission was led by Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment of Japan, high-ranking officials and executives from the Japanese public and private sectors, such as the Director General of the Department of Trade Policy, the President of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Chairman and CEO of Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, JAPAN (SMRJ), executives from Ajinomoto, Kubota Corporation, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance. At the meeting, both parties discussed ways to promote target industries, including future vehicle development cooperation and healthcare industry promotion.

Japanese investors shared experiences where SMEs with high technology and expertise played a significant role in enhancing industrial sector's competitiveness as stimulating the Japanese economy.

The PM also appreciated Japanese economic leaders and investors for their commitment to economic cooperation and confidence in Thailand. He also confirmed that Thailand will continue to improve her business environment to ensure Thailand remains a conducive investment hub of the region.

In the evening, Dr Suvit Maesincee, Minister Attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, represented the Thai government in hosting a business networking reception for the Japanese mission to celebrate the 130th anniversary of Thailand-Japan diplomatic relations. Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Somkid Jatusripitak, graced the event and delivered a keynote speech. The event was held at the Plaza Athenee Hotel.

For more information, please contact Ministry of Industry at Tel +66 2204 4435 or www.industry.go.th or facebook.com/industryprmoi

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