Adviser says barriers need alleviating

Adviser says barriers need alleviating

Thailand risks lagging behind Malaysia, Vietnam and even Indonesia for investment competitiveness if obstacles are not smoothed over, warns the former senior country officer and managing director for JPMorgan Thailand.

ML Chayotid Kridakorn, now the personal adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, said these other countries are making good progress in upgrading their investment competitiveness by amending their laws and regulations to entice foreign investment.

"Indonesia, which had been inactive for several years, is now making great strides to improve its laws and regulations to draw foreign investment," he said.

Indonesia improved its investment criteria, allowing foreign investors to hold a 100% stake in many businesses as well as buy property.

ML Chayotid is also the head of an ad hoc committee established by the government in February this year to work on new investment privileges, aiming to lure regional operating headquarters (ROHs) and 12 targeted industries.

His committee is tasked with readjusting investment privileges, existing laws, regulations and work permits to facilitate and attract investment, especially in advanced technology.

The new privileges should be finalised within 60 days and must be proposed to the prime minister for consideration.

ML Chayotid said his committee will soon propose the new investment privileges to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration.

He said the new packages should include not only income tax perks, but also other measures that facilitate visa and work permit procedures, property purchase and freelance technology employment.

One-stop services for foreign investment should also be upgraded, said ML Chayotid.

The one-stop service centre of the Board of Investment can facilitate investors to a certain extent, but investors and foreign experts still face some obstacles relating to work permit, visa and immigration procedures, such as the regulation requiring foreign experts to report every 90 days.

ML Chayotid said the pandemic has encouraged many countries to readjust their investment privileges in order to attract foreign investment, while Thai authorities are still working on proposals to lure foreign investment, notably in medical and wellness, digital and electric vehicles.

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