Thailand still has opportunities to forge partnerships and seek long-term expansion, and remains an attractive market for investors, a senior Taiwan official said.

In 2009, Thailand ranked 13th as trade partner, 12th as an export market, and 12th as an import source for Taiwan. For Thailand, Taiwan ranks 11th as trade partner, 18th as an export market, and 8th as an import source,” said Chiu.

Taiwanese businesses have a total investment of more than $12.5 billion in Thailand. Major investment projects are in electric and electronic products, metal products and machinery, and chemicals and paper.

Ajarin Pattanapanchai, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Board of Investment (BoI), said that during the first five months of this year, BOI has encouraged investments in about 505 projects worth around Bt172.6 billion, an increase from Bt160.9 billion in the same period last year. “This is a good sign that Thailand still offers many opportunities for investment,” Ajarin said.

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Taiwanese seek FTA with Thailand to boost trade

Although private investment has joined the rebound in Thai economy, the outlook remains weak relative to other demand

The medium-term outlook is sobering, with growth expected at 3.5 percent in 2010 and likely remaining below potential for the next three years. Because the Thai economy is largely dependent on final demand in advanced economies, a return to pre-crisis rates of economic growth (a full recovery vs. a rebound to pre-crisis levels) will require a combination of (a recovery of demand from advanced economies and a rebalancing of the sources of growth to reduce Thailand’s dependence on demand from advanced economies. Neither process is likely to be swift. Recovery from a financial crisis is a lengthy process that involves the rebuilding of balance sheets, and the IMF estimates that half of the losses in the financial system in advanced economies are yet to be recognized.

Against the backdrop of a weakening US dollar and mounting trade surpluses, East Asian currencies and Thai baht have appreciated only modestly

Despite the rebound, Thailand’s export recovery is still subject to several downside risks. A recent export pickup in East Asia benefits mainly from coordinated and massive policy responses in G-3 economies and China that have boosted their demand for imports, and inventory re-stocking worldwide that followed a swift and large de-stocking in early-2009 as orders fell less than production. These two factors are temporary, as governments have to unwind injections to maintain fiscal discipline and companies resume their normal stocking levels. In fact, data shows that US inventory-to-shipment ratios for computers, electronic products, and electronic appliances started to rise again in August and September, thus leading to weaker new orders . This likely adds pressure on Thailand’s electronic shipments to the US in the coming months.

About the author

The Office of the Board of Investment is a government agency under the Office of the Prime Minister. Its core roles and responsibilities are to promote valuable investment, both investment into Thailand and Thai overseas investment.

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