Jetro reaffirms interest
Thailand is still an attractive country to Japanese investors but they are concerned about the wage hike and shortage of highly skilled labour, according to Yasuo Hayashi, special adviser to the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).
Speaking at a seminar yesterday organised by Technology Promotion Association (Thailand and Japan), Hayashi, who is also former chairman and CEO of Jetro, said that Japanese investment in Thailand had continued to grow over the past five years.
He added that Japanese investors still attached importance to Thailand and Asean.
However, according to a recent survey of Japanese-affiliated companies in Asia and Oceania, they have the greatest concern about the wage hike in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.
In Thailand, Japanese companies are also concerned about the expanding market share of their competitors, the shortage of skilled labour, and the difficulty in finding management-level persons.
Hayashi said Japanese companies here would like to see quick development of infrastructure linking Asean countries and want to see energy security in the mekong region countries.
Industry Ministry permanent secretary Vitoon Simachokdee said the ministry is addressing the concerns of Japanese firms in Thailand, especially on the wage-hike issue. It will also seek measures to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs.
The Industry, Education, and Labour ministries will also join forces to produce 1,500 standard workforce trainers within three years to train a 300,000-strong workforce in the auto industry.
Sanan Ungubolkul, president of Srithai Superware, the world's biggest maker of melamine-resin products, said at the same seminar that the company currently has two plants in Vietnam besides offices in Myanmar and Laos. Once the AEC is completely formed in 2015, Thailand would benefit as a trading and investment hub.
He added that businesses have to deploy machinery and technology into their production process in order to deal with the wage hike.