Foreign investors eager to return
The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) is encouraging the government to allow foreign investors to enter Thailand as part of efforts to cope with the sluggish economy.
It is preparing to propose measures to screen business travellers to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which has maintained a restriction on foreign arrivals to contain the virus.
Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said on Wednesdayforeign investors want to enter Thailand to resume business expansion and investment.
JSCCIB has drawn up measures to cope with Covid-19 and facilitate investors at the same time, he said. Mr Kalin believes "they will follow the government's [health] guidelines".
Among screening criteria to be tabled for discussion is the origin country of the travellers. Their countries must report a low risk of new infections. These countries may include China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The business travellers are required to present medical certificates to prove they are healthy and once they enter Thailand, they must agree to be quarantined.
Travellers arriving from abroad now are subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine, under close watch to ensure they do not catch the virus.
They can opt to stay in alternative, more comfortable accommodations, endorsed by the government.
This alternative has been popular with business visitors, and the approach is expected to continue so that when the entry ban is lifted, foreigners who visit Thailand can pay for self-quarantine at hotels that agree to serve as quarantine facilities, according to the CCSA.
While JSCCIB understands the need for health observation, it questions whether the 14-day period can be "relaxed", Mr Kalin said.
Japanese companies earlier made a request through the Federation of Thai Industries, asking the government to reopen the country to 100 Japanese business travellers per day.