BoI promises 'golden year' with package
The Board of Investment (BoI) plans to meet to consider a new investment package on Monday to make next year "the golden year of investment".
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak assigned the BoI to design a new investment package during his recent trip to China.
Mr Somkid said many Chinese firms showed their intention to invest in Thailand, with a scale of investment of 10 billion baht per company.
"The deepening trade war between the US and China is a significant driver for Chinese investors looking for new destinations, especially in Thailand and Vietnam," he said. "Vietnam looks very attractive to foreign investors, so Thailand needs to work to strengthen its competitiveness in investment through a new investment stimulus package."
Mr Somkid said the new investment package will be enforced immediately once the BoI's board approves it.
He said the BoI will propose the new package at Monday's meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
"The government is hopeful that the new package will help support Thailand to have a better competitive edge in terms of investment destinations for foreign investors next year, which the government aims to promote as the golden year of investment," Mr Somkid said.
Duangjai Asawachintachit, the BoI's secretary-general, told the Bangkok Post that the agency sees further room to increase promotional privileges to investors because the BoI's investment law lets the agency offer the highest exemption from corporate income tax of up to 13 years.
The BoI is currently providing a corporate income tax exemption to promoted projects for 3-8 years.
"Only R&D in high-tech projects is now eligible to enjoy 10 years of corporate income tax exemption," Ms Duangjai said.
She said the new investment measure is expected to attract Chinese investment to Thailand because China investors are seen as looking for new destinations to stave off the impact of the trade row between the US and China.
Mr Somkid said investment in megaprojects will be the core factor propelling Thai economic growth next year.
He said Tadashi Maeda, the governor and representative of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), whom he met on Wednesday in Bangkok, informed him that Japan and China agreed to jointly support development of major infrastructure projects, especially in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
"Mr Maeda acknowledged that JBIC is one partner of Charoen Pokphand Group in its bid for the high-speed rail to link three airports, while the other partners include Hitachi and China Railway Construction Corporation," Mr Somkid said.
JBIC told the BoI that it would later join other partners to bid for the U-tapao aviation city development, terms of reference for which were announced on Wednesday, as well as the third phases of Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut ports.
Mr Somkid said the world economy is projected to see a downward trend beginning next year, hitting Thai export performance, and thus the government needs to prepare a stimulus package ahead of time.
Supavud Saicheua, an adviser to Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group, said GDP growth is likely to dip below 4% next year because of the downward trend of the global economy and the impact on exports.
He said private investment in the first half of next year will be characterised by a "wait and see" approach to the next government.