Srettha courts Tesla for EV investment

Srettha courts Tesla for EV investment

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin hopes to attract Tesla to invest in Thailand during his visit to the US to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in San Francisco.

The EV industry is one of three key industries, along with electronics and digital, that the prime minister will focus on when he meets with leading US businesses, said Narit Therdsteerasukdi, secretary-general of the Thai Board of Investment (BoI).

As part of that, Mr Srettha will meet Tesla executives in discussions that follow up on a previous meeting in New York when he also attended the UN General Assembly in September.

Mr Narit said Thailand had seen 700% growth in the electric vehicle (EV) industry in Thailand, with 6,000 EVs registered over the past nine months.

He said the government is committed to becoming the region's EV production hub, with the National EV Policy Committee chaired by Mr Srettha earlier this month approving a new EV incentive package dubbed EV3.5 to replace another package set to expire on Dec 31.

Regarding electronics, Mr Narit said Thailand is in the midstream of the electronics manufacturing industry, but the government is aiming for the country to become upstream, especially regarding smart electronics.

Mr Srettha is scheduled to meet representatives of Analog Devices, Inc (ADI), HP Inc, and Nvidia where he will ask them to expand their investments in Thailand, he said.

As for the digital industry, Mr Narit said the prime minister will meet representatives from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft and invite them to invest in data centres and cloud services in Thailand.

AWS has already announced it will invest US$5 billion (180 billion baht) in Thailand over the next 15 years, starting with building three data centres, Mr Narit said.

The BoI chief said Mr Srettha's delegation includes 20 leading Thai businessmen who will also meet their American counterparts to explore potential partnerships.

He said that BoI aims to woo at least 100 firms to set up bases in Thailand within four years to create about 10,000 positions for Thai nationals.

According to Mr Narit, the BoI is also working with the Transport Ministry to promote the Land Bridge megaproject with a first roadshow at the Apec meetings, which began last Saturday and wraps up on Friday.

Permanent secretary for transport Chayathan Promsorn said a new law is required to implement this megaproject, and investors' input will help the government understand their demands and make necessary preparations.

The 1-trillion-baht megaproject aims to develop a logistics network connecting Ranong along the Andaman Sea to Chumphon along the Gulf of Thailand.

The project comprises deep-water ports in Ranong and Chumphon, a motorway cutting across the land to connect the two provinces and a railway system.

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