Chilean investors eye Thailand
Steel, fertiliser and drug sectors are among the most attractiveChile is keen on investing in many industries in Thailand like steel, fertiliser and pharmaceuticals, while inviting Thai investors to do business in Chile mainly in copper mining, salmon raising and wine-making.
"With a free-trade pact with Chile, Thailand and this new economic partner should gain opportunities to promote trade and investment on both sides. Trade and investment should grow strongly soon," Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said last week.
Thailand could be an investment hub for Chilean investors to expand in Asean, he said after meeting with Chilean Ambassador Javier Baker.
Many Chilean investors would like to open a business in Thailand. Magotteaux Co, a steel manufacturer, has just entered Thailand. The largest medicine producer in South America and Chile is highly interested in setting up in Thailand. Soquimich, a fertiliser manufacturer, plans to establish its head office in Bangkok.
Chile has also moved ProChile, a government agency responsible for trade and service promotion, from its base in Vietnam to Thailand.
Chile can be a centre for distributing goods to other Latin America countries, he added.
Piramol Charoenpao, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said Thailand's exports to Chile would get a big boost after the FTA becomes effective this year.
Under the agreement, duties on at least 90 per cent of merchandise trade between both sides would go to zero.
Thai products with good potential for accessing the Chilean market are automobiles, canned fish, polymers, electric appliances, construction materials, cement, rubber and products, and jewellery. The Chilean product that would face the strongest demand in Thailand is copper.
Thai rice would also enjoy more market access since Chile would gradually cut duties for Thai rice over five years.
Service businesses including spas, massage, retail and wholesale, engineering, architecture, construction, tourism and hotels would find many opportunities in Chile.
Negotiations on investment will wait until after the FTA has been in force for two years.
Chile is Thailand's third largest trading partner in Latin America after Brazil and Argentina. Thailand enjoyed a trade surplus of US$278.07 million with Chile last year. Exports to Chile grew 21.05 per cent to $628.25 million, while imports from Chile slipped 2.1 per cent to $350.18 million.
Chile is one of the world's most liberalised countries with 21 FTAs with trade partners, including Asian nations such as South Korea, China, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam.