PM Srettha hopes to secure US$5 bn deal with Tesla


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is trying to close a major investment deal worth US$5 billion with US car maker, Tesla.

In an exclusive interview with Nation Group on the “Nation Inside” programme, Srettha said that efforts to attract global conglomerates to invest in Thailand have progressed over the past three months, adding that he had travelled abroad several times to meet country leaders and top businesspersons to facilitate government-business collaboration. Multiple agreements have been signed by the government but there was still a need for sustained follow-up to ensure the deals materialise as such collaborations involve intricate detail.

He revealed that Tesla, a major electric vehicle company in the US, is poised to invest over $5 billion in Thailand. A second-tier management mission overseeing Tesla's investment plans had now arrived in Thailand to inspect factory locations, and the opportunity would be taken to showcase Thailand’s culture and traditions.

In this context, he would be accompanying Tesla’s executives to experience the Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai on November 27, allowing them to understand Thailand’s traditional customs, a significant asset for the country.

Another critical aspect is international trade negotiations. Thailand has made strides in this area by engaging with economic leaders and key industries. Major global companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google, and many others are in talks with the government or have initiated discussions. The current government’s work has garnered global attention, portraying Thailand as an inviting destination for investors thanks to its political stability.

Regarding the Thai government's investment strategies, the primary objective is to promote crucial industries like aerospace, digital, and AI, ensuring that Thais benefit in the future. The environment in Thailand, including tax measures, tax exemptions for corporations for 8-15 years, and readiness in clean energy, will serve as significant attractions for investors. Political stability is another key strength that investors globally recognize.

As for the Thai prime minister's role in being the country's salesman, Srettha admits that the government's goals are ambitious and challenging. This is just the beginning, and there's much more to be done and accelerated.

Numerous issues need immediate government attention, such as improving 'ease of doing business', ensuring clear legal principles, and rapidly addressing existing problems.

The welcoming stance of foreign entities ready to invest amidst global tensions is notable. Prime Minister Srettha has managed to present a neutral standpoint, not part of any conflicts, instilling confidence in Thailand's stance. Thailand is not a major player in the internation arena, but we take pride in our identity. We understand our strengths and do not aim to compete beyond our capabilities. This approach has made discussions friendlier and more conducive, Srettha said.