Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij on Friday said that government-appointed Team Thailand will carry out a road show in Japan in mid-March to explain to investors what happened with investment projects in the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estates and measures to solve the problem in order to restore their confidence.

Government plans Japan road show to restore investor confidence

Many Japanese investors have warned about a possible shift of their investment base to other countries unless there is a clear solution to the Map Ta Phut problem.

Mr Korn said the government is giving an importance to efforts to accelerate solving the Map Ta Phut case. It had realised the need to balance the economic development with supervising the environment and quality of life of the people.

“It is vital to communicate for a proper understanding of foreign investors about problems at the Map Ta Phut. Now, it is clear that some suspended investment projects with sufficient rationale will petition to resume their construction. The government is ready to act as a liaison in
the case,” said Mr. Korn.

While projects from Japan, the EU and Singapore are still in decline, U.S. investment is beginning to bounce back, although not yet to 2007 and 2006 levels. This is according to the BOI’s FDI application statistics.

There is also a strong investment wave from emerging countries such as China, India and South Korea. Even Australia shows a steady increase over the past three years. That is why we have opened offces in China, South Korea and Australia and plan to open an additional one in India to tap into the investment potential.

The government also uses tariff measures as a tool to promote energy policy. To encourage the use of natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles, the government has exempted import duties of many natural gas-related tools and equipment such as bio-fuel conversion kits, natural gas containers, and chasses.
In January 2009, the overall economy in Thailand continued to contract from the same period last year, with continual large contractions in manufacturing production and export. Private consumption and investment trended downward, in line with a considerable drop in import. Furthermore, major crops production and price continued to decelerate, resulting in a slowdown in farm income. Nevertheless, tourism sector observed a smaller contraction. External stability remained sound with high international reserves as well as trade and current account surpluses following a marked decrease in import. Regarding internal stability, January’s inflation in Thailand turned negative for the first time since October 1999. Even though the unemployment rate remained low, manufacturing employment continued to decline.

External stability in Thailand was upheld by high international reserves, while trade and current account were close to balance. Regarding internal stability, inflation rose from last year in line with higher oil prices, despite a downward trend during the second half of the year. Unemployment rate remained low in Thailand in 2008 but employment started to deteriorate in the forth quarter, particularly in the production sector affected by economic slowdown.

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