By SASITHORN ONGDEE
THE SUNDAY N
PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha has invited Japanese small and medium sized enterprises to invest more in the Mekong Subregion - by taking advantage of its logistic transport links, with the expectation that the region will be able to take a step
Prayut spoke at a luncheon at the Imperial Hotel that was attended by the leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and more than 1,000 Japanese businesspeople, where the need for more investment in the Mekong highlighted.
The sectors in need of investment include agriculture, processed agricultural products, high-tech industries and recycling and alternative energy.
Deputy government spokesman Maj-General Weerachon Sukonthapaitipak said Prayut told the gathering that such investments would be in line with the Japanese government’s policy of promoting the country’s SMEs to expand their investments abroad, especially in the Mekong, as doing so provided Japan with an extended production base.
“The Japanese private sector is a vital tool to drive growth in the Mekong region and is part of the achievements of the Thai economy and [the country’s] social development for decades,” said Prayut.
He said Japanese companies were technologically advanced and well managed, leading to job and wealth creation in local communities.
Thailand had improved its rules and regulations to facilitate foreign investment, he said, with investors able to use the country as a production base that extends to neighbouring countries under the concept of “Plus One”.
Thailand is pushing for construction of many transport infrastructure projects over the next eight years in a bid to reduce logistics costs and increase the country’s and the Mekong subregion’s competitiveness.
The government has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Tokyo on a government-to-government basis to develop three railway lines, two of which will link trade and investment in the Mekong.
The Dawei Special Economic Zone and deep seaport project would also be a strategic gateway for trade in the region to the Andaman Ocean. It would also support road construction to link Myanmar and Cambodia and Vietnam.
The businesspeople at the lunch were led by leaders of Keidanren and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.