Japan firms to stay put and expand
Japanese companies remain keen to continue investing in Thailand, with particular interest shown to mass-transit projects.
Akira Murakoshi, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok (JCCB), said after meeting with Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn yesterday that Japanese investors remained confident in Thailand's prospects, as indicated by the growing ranks of JCCB members -- now numbering more than 1,000.
"We've found many Japanese firms are interested in joining the construction of rail development and mass-transit projects here," he said.
"They also believe the Thai economy will pick up in the foreseeable future."
Mr Murakoshi said regional economic integration would enhance Thailand's regional importance.
Japanese investors want Thai small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to link more closely with their Japanese counterparts to tap regional opportunities, he said.
Banjongjitt Angsusingh, deputy director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said Japan proposed Thailand develop and support human resources suited to Asean industries
It should also press Asean members to adopt single-stop inspection at border checkpoints and the Asean Single Window for customs to improve the bloc's competitiveness, she said.
The Asean Single Window is aimed at integrating the customs systems of all 10 Asean members as they prepare for closer ties with the advent of the Asean Economic Community late this year.
The Japanese also urged Thailand and other Asean members jointly to develop standards for regulatory laws, product quality and SMEs.
Japan is the top foreign investor in Thailand.
In the first half of this year, the Board of Investment awarded new promotions and privileges worth 22.4 billion baht.
Japan's first-half investment was worth 87.8 billion baht.
"The bearish global economy may admittedly affect investment, but Japanese investors have assured Thai authorities they will continue investing in Thai industries and infrastructure," Mrs Banjongjitt added.