Business leaders have hailed the government’s moves to ease restrictions for employing migrant workers and increase tax incentives under the regional operating headquarters scheme, saying these make Thailand more attractive in the eyes of foreign investors.

Junichi Mizonoue, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, said that the cabinet’s approval last week of tax incentives for international procurement centres (IPCs) would benefit foreign companies that had established strong production bases in Thailand.

Most Japanese companies operating in South-East Asia now use Singapore as a regional marketing and finance centre.Automobile workers

“This ROH scheme will definitely strengthen Thailand’s competitiveness and it is in line with Southeast Asia’s integration to a regional market under the Asean Economic Community by 2015,” he said.

“Foreign companies have been looking for one location to cover their businesses in Asean to lower costs and make management more efficient.” The cabinet agreed last Tuesday to tax IPCs at only 15% on corporate income, down from the normal rate of 30%, for five accounting periods on income from selling Thai-made products to their overseas production facilities.

Also, up to three foreign manufacturing staff will enjoy a five-year flat rate of 15% personal income tax, compared with the normal progressive rate of 5-37%.

Meanwhile, the Board of Investment has allowed companies it promotes to use unskilled foreign workers at up to 15% of their total workforce.

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Camilla Davidsson is a photographer based in Bangkok

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