PM stresses incentives to French firms
Prayut places focus on R&D investments
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha outlined economic incentives for investing in Thailand before an audience of leading French employers during his visit to France Monday.
At the Thailand Business Forum in Paris on the last full day of his trip to Europe, Gen Prayut said investment opportunities abound in Thailand and under the National Council for Peace and Order's four-year rule, the economy has steadily strengthened.
The prime minister was speaking to Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), France's largest employer federation which has more than 750,000 member firms, 90% of which are small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said the Thailand 4.0 policy, promoting technological advancement in the real sector including agricultural farms, attested to the country's readiness to keep up with the world in developing its industries, according to Gen Prayut.
The government has also unveiled a 20-year national strategic plan which guarantees consistent implementation of important national policies that are also multi-faceted and comprehensive, the prime minister said.
High on the agenda for long-term national development is the construction of fundamental infrastructure such as high-speed train projects, airport and port expansions as well as the establishment of the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) which covers the three eastern provinces of Rayong, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri, he added.
Over the past 10 years, 190 projects by French businesses worth €625 million were granted investment privileges by the Board of Investment, Gen Prayut said.
Last year, France was Thailand's fourth-biggest investor from the European Union. According to the premier, French investments were made in key areas which include research and development (R&D).
Gen Prayut said Thailand needs the R&D investments to realise its plans to expand its knowledge-based economy and produce innovations to lift the country's productivity, which will help increase competitiveness.
The prime minister also told the federation the country has performed well economically, having posted 3.9% GDP growth last year. And in the first quarter of this year, growth topped 4.8%, the biggest jump in five years thanks to strong exports and tourism.
Gen Prayut said he expected economic growth for this year will be between 4.2% and 4.7%.
The prime minister stressed the government has attached overriding importance to the development of human capital, saying the private sector will be given a role in human resource investment a through co-operative education scheme which trains people to work in foreign-invested businesses.
Also, Thailand retains its position as an ideal industrial base, given its strategic location at the centre of the Asean countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT) with a combined population of over 230 million, according to Gen Prayut.
The prime minister was also scheduled to meet French President Emmanuel Macron later yesterday to discuss boosting bilateral trade.