China, Japan test platform on Thailand
Thailand will be a proving ground for the proposed Chinese-Japanese economic platform as the two giant economies seek efficient investment in Asean.
China and Japan signed an agreement to set up an economic platform to work together in Asean on May 9 this year, with the aim of developing the regional economy. Thailand will be the first country where the platform is rolled out.
Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said China and Japan are interested in investing in Thailand, especially in the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
China and Japan are the second and the third largest economies in the world.
"Chinese and Japanese investors are looking at investments in R&D, Thailand's 10 targeted industries and EEC infrastructure investment including the high-speed railway linking three domestic airports, make the country an attractive target for foreign investment," Mr Uttama said.
Nonetheless, Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office said Thailand is speeding up business cooperation between China and Japan, expecting to complete the initial plan in the next two months, following the implementation of the 2018 EEC Act in May.
Three countries aim to enhance Thailand's investment climate and promote private investment in the area.
Japan and China will also establish a service trade cooperation mechanism to actively promote reciprocal cooperation in the service sector.
"We will support investors from three countries and set up the new joint committee to work on this cooperation," Mr Kanit said. "We will beef up the economy, not only locally but also regionally."
Thai government expects the EEC scheme will create and generate US$43 billion (1.38 trillion baht) in economic activity during 2018-23 and plans to hold roadshows in Japan, South Korea, China and Europe to promote the corridor.
Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission said the two countries [Thailand and China] have a good relationship, and more importantly, the tourism sector has attracted Chinese people to Thailand for many years.
He said Thailand is also a strategic country in Asean for Chinese investors
"The Chinese government believes the EEC will connect closely with China's One Belt One Road initiative to expand future trade and investment," Mr Jizhe said. "The EEC scheme is expected to upgrade the industrial sector in Thailand."
Shiro Sadoshima, the Japanese ambassador to Thailand, said Japan is focusing on investing further in Thailand, where Japan has set up production bases for more than 30 years and more than 5,000 Japanese companies have established their presence.
Japan investors are interested in investing in many sectors, especially the ten targeted industries and local infrastructure megaprojects.