FTI says contagion an opportunity to push EEC
The government should take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to attract investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and make Thailand a standout among neighbouring countries as the most preferable investment destination, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
"Thailand needs to start stimulating investment now, during the pandemic, to move its economy forward," said FTI vice-chairman Montri Mahaplerkpong.
Despite causing damage to the Thai economy, Covid-19 can be also used to promote the EEC as investors seek new opportunities in Asean, he said.
The FTI is confident that Thailand's public health system will be a factor in drawing prospective investors. The federation said the country has proved that its measures to curb disease transmission are among the best in Asia.
The group views the EEC scheme as a key economic tool to drive the domestic economy in the post-pandemic period.
Compared with investment projects in neighbouring countries, the EEC is relatively larger and more interesting, Mr Montri said.
Many countries in Asean are working to attract foreign investment. Mr Montri urged the government to respond to the increasing competition by adding more privileges to EEC investment packages.
The economy needs long-term investment projects like the EEC to boost growth, according to the FTI.
For the short term, the FTI is calling on the government to find ways to help businesses as coronavirus relief packages near expiry.
The FTI is concerned that the economy will weaken if the government doesn't come up with new measures, Mr Montri said.
The federation worries that a second outbreak of Covid-19 may occur as the government continues to ease lockdown measures. An order to temporarily shut down businesses again would be a devastating blow, Mr Montri said.