US firms flock to BoI amid trade war

US firms flock to BoI amid trade war

More US investors are keen to relocate their production bases to Thailand and Asean to stave off the impact of the prolonged US-China trade rift.

Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister on political affairs, said executives from many US firms have sought a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and the Board of Investment (BoI) over the past several months to solicit assistance from the government to facilitate their relocation attempts.

Mr Somkid has already assigned the BoI with designing relocation investment packages to fit their needs, Mr Kobsak said.

"The government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative and new investment policies to promote high technology, R&D, innovation, headquarters and human resource development have made Thailand more enticing to foreign investment," he said.

Yesterday, Patrick Gelsinger, chief executive of VMware, called on Mr Somkid to ask for cooperation and support from the government on human resource development in information technology.

Mr Kobsak said VMware has proposed to help the government develop cybersecurity and cloud services, digital infrastructure in the EEC and an e-government development plan.

Thailand is the US's 20th-largest goods trading partner, and two-way trade totalled US$44.5 billion in 2018. The US goods trade deficit with Thailand was $19.3 billion in 2018.

The BoI reported application privileges from US investors in the first nine months this year that ranked ninth by country, with 24 projects worth 3 billion baht.

US investors applied for 38 projects worth 333 billion baht in 2018, of which 18.3 billion baht was approved for all 38.

Mr Somkid said Thailand is attractive to foreign investors, citing high-ranking executives from one of the top five digital companies as well as who have visited Thailand and are keen to invest here.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Guangdong's China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Committee (CCPIT).

Supant Mongkolsuthree, the FTI's chairman, said the two agencies will cooperate to promote innovation and technology, R&D on economic issues, trade, technology, culture, education and tourism.

He expects the cooperation to help attract more trade and investment from Guangdong province in Thailand.

Guangdong has the largest GDP value in China. In 2018, Guangdong's GDP was 9.73 trillion yuan or $1.47 trillion.

CCPIT also led 20 companies from Guangdong to visit the EEC.

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