Prayut touts Thailand as major global EV hub with Japanese support

Prayut touts Thailand as major global EV hub with Japanese support

PM woos foreign investment at Tokyo forum

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses the Nikkei Forum in Tokyo on Thursday. (Photo: Government House)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses the Nikkei Forum in Tokyo on Thursday. (Photo: Government House)

Thailand has confidence it can become the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) production hub if it has strong support from Japan, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday.

Gen Prayut was speaking at the 27th International Conference on the Future of Asia organised by Nikkei Inc, known as Nikkei Forum, in Tokyo.

He said Thailand was employing all its resources to upgrade the country’s basic infrastructure, especially digital technology and transport service development to facilitate foreign investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor, planned as a hub for advanced industries.

Thailand had a clear direction to be the global hub for EV-based industry and this goal could be achieved with strong support from Japanese investment and technology transfer to local plants, he said.

The new industry direction would help the country complete its global commitment to dealing with climate change with a target of carbon neutral in 2050 and net zero emissions by 2065.

The two-day Nikkei Forum ends on Friday. The Bangkok Post is a media partner of the event. (continues below)

Japan is Thailand's second largest trading partner and top foreign investment, with 5,000 Japanese companies in the kingdom.

The prime minister called for more Japanese investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor and hoped for support from Japan for Thai investors.

The renewable energy sector in Japan was one attractive investment project for Thai energy companies keen to use their expertise in the field to expand their footprint abroad.

Bangkok will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit later this year, preceded by meetings of ministers to prepare agendas for their leaders.

Gen Prayut admitted that hosting the Apec forum was a challenge, with problems including  global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. 

The prime minister said he would use Apec to find the solutions to problems and return prosperity and  security to the global community in a sustainable way.

“We have a strong belief in multi-cooperation to drive both security and prosperity,” he said.

He said Thailand and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations hoped that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would end soon and Thailand was committed to humanitarian aid to people in Ukraine. The war was impacting on daily life beyond the war zone as it sent food and fuel prices soaring, he said.

This year, Thailand and Japan commemorate 135 years of diplomatic ties. 

Gen Prayut will meet Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the second time in a month. Mr Kishidam made an official visit to Thailand on May 2 and offered a ¥50 billion loan to the country for post-Covid-19 economic recovery, including a package of economic cooperation and defence cooperation.

He will also meet the Japanese private sector in a bid to boost their confidence in Thailand and affirm the government’s policy of support for foreign direct investment.

Video: Government House's YouTube page

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