Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has urged the Board of Investment (BoI) to make tax incentives and investment packages more attractive to foreign agri-businesses to turn Thailand into an investment hub for CLMV countries.
The government wants to draw more investors as the pandemic may cause them to consider changing their production bases, he said. Another consideration is making Thailand stand out among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) as an investment destination.
Mr Somkid said yesterday new investment packages should be designed to promote the agriculture sector as this will help local farmers deal with economic hardships under a state plan to boost the local economy following the Covid-19 period.
"Many Japanese are interested in agriculture and food processing businesses. They want to relocate their production facilities from China to Thailand," he said.
The government has, since last year, offered a relocation package for foreign investors wishing to shift from China to Thailand. The package focuses largely on headquarters, research centres, talent and high technology industry.
Investors from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan want to relocate from China to Thailand to invest in medical devices, agriculture and digital technology, said Mr Somkid.
He has instructed the BoI to use 10 billion baht of the Competitiveness Fund for the purpose that has been inactive since it was established in 2016.
BoI secretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit said officials are preparing to propose a plan to revamp investment options to the BoI board for approval.
A "future plant factory" will be added to a list of businesses, to be selected for tax privileges, to encourage entrepreneurs to build a modern farming system with a controllable environment, she said.
The proposal will be tabled when the BoI board, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, meets on June 17, Ms Duangjai said.
The BoI is focusing on the agriculture sector to help the government run its Smart Farmer initiative, which aims to build a new generation of farmers and better connect agriculture with industries.
Under the plan, farmers must possess better business know-how by adopting technology to improve production capacity, management and marketing in order to become leaders in their hometowns.