The Commerce Ministry’s Business Development Department has approved the plans of 16 foreign companies to set up businesses in Thailand worth Bt717 million.

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Foriegn firms’ plans approved

A steep fall in exports caused by the global trade slump drove down industrial production and investment in the frst half of 2009. Business and consumer sentiment was further undermined by political tensions. Although there were signs the worst had passed by midyear, the economy is expected to contract by more than was projected in March. Modest growth is seen resuming in 2010. The tempo of recovery will depend in large part on the Government fully implementing two fscal packages, including a new public investment program. Those plans would be at risk if political disruptions recur. The consumer price index is now forecast to decline this year, before low-level infation returns next year.

Thailand’s economic growth over the last three decades has been fueled and accompanied by rapid industrialization, urbanization, and by intensified agricultural production and fishing. This growth, which has relied extensively on the country’s abundant and diverse natural resources, has degraded land and water quality, caused the loss of natural habitats, and generated increasing levels of air and water pollution. In response, the Government and people of Thailand have launched new initiatives to improve air and water quality, reforest degraded land, adopt energy efficient technologies and invest in pollution abatement schemes.

Infrastructure services, if quickly improved, could promote a better investment climate in Thailand
Imports from new ASEAN member countries also have lower import duties. As part of ASEAN Integration System of Preferences (AISP), tariffs of products such as vinegar, chili, certain vegetables, wood products, and electronic switchboards imported from Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao PDR are either reduced or abolished from September 2008.

Most of the infrastructure development in Thailand has been responsive to demand rather than forward-looking. Availability and accessibility appear to no longer be a challenge. The next step for Thailand is to put more emphasis on quality of service delivery, management, and sound regulation.

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