BoI relocation package to lure foreign funds

BoI relocation package to lure foreign funds

The government has ordered the Board of Investment (BoI) to devise a "relocation package" for foreign investors wishing to shift from China to Thailand as a result of the Sino-US trade dispute, hoping to counter the slump in exports and foreign investment.

The government will propose the scheme to the economic cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Aug 30 to approve a special unit and an ad hoc team to deal with the matter, as well as stimulus packages for these investors.

Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general for political affairs to the prime minister, said the government is trying to capitalise on the US-China trade war in ways that attract investment to Thailand.

"The government wants the BoI to speed up its work and invite foreign investors to Thailand, but the BoI must have an aggressive posture to attract these investors," Mr Kobsak said.

This scheme is also eyeing potential foreign investors from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the US and the EU that might seek relocation to Southeast Asia.

"Thailand has investment strategies to lure foreign companies, plus the country is in the centre of the region, connecting with neighbouring countries," Mr Kobsak said. "Thailand has its flagship scheme, the Eastern Economic Corridor."

Once the scheme receives approval from the cabinet, the special unit and ad hoc team will be a key mechanism to mobilise the government's investment policies.

Moreover, the government plans to speed up disbursement of the 10-billion-baht fund for technology and innovation under the Competitiveness Enhancement Act for Target Industries.

"This fund has been disbursed less than expected, so we will propose a plan to the economic cabinet to accelerate the budget to support companies adopting technology and innovation," Mr Kobsak said.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the BoI should take advantage of the US-China trade row to attract new investment flows to Thailand.

"Foreign direct investment can beef up the economy," Mr Somkid said. "The BoI should play a key role to push forward investment flows from companies amid the downturn of the global economy, so it must take action and respond quickly to the government's policies and directions."

According to the BoI, investment applications in the first six months of 2019 totalled 758 projects, up 7% year-on-year.

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