BoI relocation package capitalises on trade spat

BoI relocation package capitalises on trade spat

The Board of Investment (BoI) looks set to propose to the economic cabinet at its meeting on Friday a relocation package for foreign investors wishing to shift from China to Thailand.

The package will focus largely on headquarters, research centres, talent and high technology industry, said Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for political affairs.

"The BoI's new investment package aims to promote Thailand as a base for investment for four groups of businesses," said Mr Kobsak.

"The government is set to use all tools from related economic agencies to give Thailand an investment advantage amid higher competition from Vietnam and Indonesia."

This scheme eyes potential foreign investors from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the US and the European Union that might seek relocation to Southeast Asia.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said last Thursday 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 in pushing 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.

Mr Kobsak said the Sino-US trade row is unlikely to end anytime soon and is expected to become prolonged if US president Donald Trump wins re-election next year.

The National Economic and Social Development Council reported 10 companies plan to relocate their plants from China to Thailand. They include Taiwan's Delta Electronics; Taiwan's Merry Electronics; China's Besser; Japan's Sharp, Ricoh, Sony; Hong Kong's Xilinmen Furniture; US's BFGoodrich, Western Digital, and Harley Davidson.

The state planning unit also reported 38 companies in high technology from Japan, the US, Taiwan and Korea are considering relocating their production bases to Asean countries, with alternative choices including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines.

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