According to Chamber, now is the time to attract investment
Although the weakened currency is hurting the import sector, the Thai Chamber of Commerce sees the baht’s plunge as a good opportunity for Thailand to boost foreign investment.
According to Sanan Angubolkul, the chamber’s chairman, plans to attract foreign investment should be accelerated to compete with competitors in ASEAN, particularly Vietnam, which is a popular destination for foreign investors.
“Foreign investment is a must to recover our economy after the Covid-19 outbreaks,” Mr Sanan said.
“But to attract foreign investors, Thailand needs policies that benefit and facilitate their investments.”
He said foreign investment is not only crucial to improving the country’s overall competitiveness, but also brings know-how and technology transfers, creates jobs and supports Thailand’s economic development.
The ongoing depreciation of the baht also benefits exports, agriculture and particularly the tourism sector as foreign arrivals are expected to increase in the fourth quarter, Mr Sanan said.
The Chinese government is likely to relax its Covid regulations later this year, allowing more tourists from that nation to travel outside the mainland, he said.
Domestic tourism is also set to become more active thanks to the “We Travel Together” stimulus package and the further easing of Covid-19 control measures.
“We believe foreign tourist arrivals are likely to reach 12 million this year,” Mr Sanan said.
“We see the weakness of the baht as having a positive impact on the country’s economy. We still expect economic growth of 2.75% to 3.50% as projected by the private sector this year.”
In a related development, the Commerce Ministry reported yesterday that investment by foreign companies registered under the Foreign Business Act rose 66% year-on-year to 83.3 billion baht in the first eight months of 2022, led by Japan, China and Singapore.
According to Deputy Trade Minister Sinit Lertkrai, the Foreign Business Committee approved 381 investment applications from foreign companies in the first eight months of 2022, an increase of 15%.
Investments are mainly made in companies that comply with government investment promotion policies and target industries such as: B. Electric vehicle charging station services, oil exploration and engineering design.
Most investments came from Japan with 96 worth 32.9 billion baht, followed by Singapore (64) worth 10.7 billion, the US (49) worth 3.2 billion, Hong Kong (28) worth of 7.78 billion and the Netherlands (16). 4.9 billion and China (16) worth 14.7 billion.
In the first eight months of this year, 69 foreign entities invested in the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), with a total investment value of 33.2 billion baht.
This represented 40% of all foreign investment in the country during the period.
The Japanese accounted for 31 of the EEC’s investments, valued at 22 billion baht, followed by Singaporeans (seven) at 1.82 billion and Americans (five) at 1.07 billion. Investors from other countries contributed the rest.
“For the remaining four months of this year, we expect more foreign investment in Thailand thanks to government investment stimulus measures, government stimulus measures, reopening to overseas tourists and improved convenience in doing business,” said Mr. Sinit.
“These factors will help the economy recover faster.”