The Japan External Trade Organization JETRO on Monday kicked off its “Invest Japan” symposium here to boost bilateral trade and investment cooperation between Japan and Thailand.
Munenori Yamada, president of JETRO Bangkok, said the Japanese minister of economy, trade, and investment METI was originally scheduled to join the symposium, but due to the recent tsunami disaster affecting Japan, the minister was unable to participate in the fair.
However, the minister conveyed a message expressing appreciation for the helpfulness and friendship Thailand had shown to the Japan as it faces an extended moment of truth following the earthquake and tsunami tragedy.
“On behalf of the Japanese people, we are very grateful for the great kindness of His Majesty the King, the heartfelt care of many Thai people for the quake-affected Japanese, and for the Thai government’s assistance. It can boost the moral support greatly for the Japanese people,”
Mr Yamada quoted the message as saying.The JETRO Bangkok chief affirmed the natural disaster Japan is experiencing would not affect business expansion and foreign investment by Japanese companies.He said that in the past Japan had experienced countless earthquakes, so it is believed the country would be able to recover and return to normality soon.
A study by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) showed some damage in the short term because of the suspension of the auto parts supply from Japan to Thai assemblers. However, in the long term, Japan is likely to increase imports from Thailand, especially in the agriculture and construction sectors. Thai exports to Japan in 2010 totalled US$20.41 billion, or 10.5% of total exports.
It forecast a reduction in car assembly by 5,000 units due to the lack of parts, but Thai industry plans to get substitute parts from other countries. Japan’s domestic car production is expected to drop by 100,000 units.
But the agency expects no severe delays in Japanese investment in Thailand as industries will receive compensation from insurance companies.
Japan is the largest foreign investor in Thailand with an average annual investment of 80 billion baht over the past five years, some 30% of total investment.