DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 30 – Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday met top executives of the world’s leading carmakers and invited them to invest in Thailand, saying the country has a quality workforce in the industry and that the business environment is favourable for investment.
Upon arrival in Davos, Mr Abhisit began his first mission with a bilateral discussion with Britain’s Prince Andrew, HRH the Duke of York, at Bilateral Room IN 15 in the Congress Center.
The premier told the prince that Thailand wanted to send more skilled workers in the food and spa industries to Britain, but that British immigration regulations are quite strict.
The Duke of York explained that the tough regulation was issued by the Interior Ministry in a bid to prevent the illegal entry of foreign workers. Nonetheless, he will liaise with the ministry to respond to the matter.
In addition, Prince Andrew told Mr Abhisit that he is prepared to encourage British banks to provide loan support to Thai contractors planning to invest overseas.
The Thai premier joined a discussion on “Thailand and the Global Automotive Industry” during which he exchanged views with senior executives of leading carmakers.
Mr Abhisit assured them that his government had a policy to promote Thailand as the auto production hub in ASEAN because the country had quality workforce and good business environment, which are favourable for investment in the auto industry.
Also, Thailand could serve as a gateway to Asia as it had the developed basic infrastructure and had geographic advantages.
ASEAN will develop into the ASEAN Community in 2015, the Thai prime minisiter said. The auto industry will benefit from the development in addition to implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) agreement. (MCOT online news)
The Thai auto industry has grown from its infancy with just one automotive assembly plant in 1961 to a mature world- class production center currently ranking 13th globally. Nearly all of the world’s major automakers, assemblers, and parts and components manufacturers have established production operations in the country.
In fact, Thailand produced more than 1.4 million vehicles in 2008, and the lions share came from the local facilities of Ford, General Motors, BMW, Daimler Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Isuzu, Honda and Nissan.
The Thailand Automotive Institute predicts that the country will pass Spain, Canada and Mexico to enter the world Top 10 by achieving the capacity target of 2.3 million units in five years.
Investor confidence in Thailand’s automotive industry is as strong as ever after an unveiling of major projects by leading auto companies in recent weeks. The explosion of new investment in an already robust sector is pushing the country closer to the goa of being a global Top 10 automaker by 2014, when local capacity is projected to hit 2.3 million units.