GBA-EEC links developing
Senior executives from more than 100 companies in Guangdong, China are scheduled to visit Thailand this weekend in search of investment opportunities, especially in the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the visit, led by Li Xi, the governor of Guangdong province, is a strategic component of China's national development blueprint, offering a good opportunity for Thailand to create a business link between the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and EEC production bases.
The GBA aims to promote in-depth cooperation among nine cities in Guangdong province -- Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing -- and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, with the aim of developing a world-class city cluster via reforms, innovation and liberalisation.
"The GBA is a part of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, and the Thai government is trying its best to create a business linkage between the GBA and the EEC," Mr Somkid said.
The GBA has more than 70 million people, with a combined GDP of US$1.5 trillion (47 trillion baht). The area has averaged economic growth of 10.7% a year over the past several decades.
Mr Somkid said Chinese executives will visit the EEC on June 10 and attend the China (Guangdong)-Thailand Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference on June 11, which will be co-organised by the Commerce Ministry, the Board of Investment, the EEC Office and the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Mr Somkid will be the keynote speaker at the event.
He said the mounting trade row between the US and China is expected to trigger the flight of Chinese companies to overseas production bases, especially to Southeast Asia. Thailand needs to lure these relocating firms.
According to the latest report by the BoI, foreign direct investment (FDI) amounted to 105 billion baht in the first four months of the year, a surge of 187% from 36.5 billion baht in the same period last year.
Japan still ranked first in terms of FDI, with 30.7 billion baht for the period, up from 14.6 billion baht in the same period last year.
Switzerland came second, with 11.1 billion baht, up from 5 billion, followed by China at 9.39 billion, up from 3.11 billion, Singapore at 6.2 billion, up from 5.6 billion, and Hong Kong at 3.69 billion, up from 3.2 billion.
Mr Somkid said Thailand and Hong Kong have agreed to incubate startups, and Hong Kong has already established the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Bangkok.
Thailand can use Hong Kong as a gateway to the GBA, while Hong Kong can use Thailand as the gateway to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
"This will generate great benefits to both Thailand and China if Thailand can create production bases for the GBA," Mr Somkid said.