Japan investors courted for EEC 

Economy September 08, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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Thailand hopes to persuade Japanese companies to invest in four zones of the targeted industries in the Eastern Economic Corridor during their September 11-13 visit to Thailand.



Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said business matching sessions were scheduled for Japanese investors and Thai businesses, as well as a symposium.

The visit was aimed at boosting economic cooperation between Japan and Thailand.

Besides the 560 big Japanese firms led by the Japanese minister for economy, trade and industry (METI), Japanese private and public organisations like Keidanren, Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), Japan International Cooperation Agency and Organisation for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation will also join the trip. 

They will sign collaborate agreements with Thai associations such as the Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Industry Promotion Office under the Industry Ministry. 

The business matching functions will be for about 300 Thai businesses and Japanese investors in four target-industry zones – automobiles including aviation; electronics; medical and agriculture, biotechnology, food, and service Industries. 

One more zone will involve Thai state agencies related to trade and investment, which will disseminate information to the Japanese investors.

Up to 20 Japanese firms have shown interest to expand investment in Thailand. 

They are Ajinomoto Co Inc, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co, Itochu Corporation, Kubota Corporation, Denso Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, NEC Corporation, Mizuho Bank, Asahi Glass Co, Komatsu Seiki Co, Mitsubishi Co, JC Service, Shinwa Technology, All Nippon Airways, Asahi Yukizai Corporation, Maruri Foods Co, FOMM Corporation, Transcmos Inc, BizMobile Inc, Suncorporation, Metal Heat Co, YU-KI Co and Fujisan Onsensui Co.

The “Thailand 4.0 Towards Connected Industries” symposium will be organised by the Industry Ministry, Commerce Ministry, Eastern Economic Corridor Office and Board of Investment. 

About 600 new investors, 400 existing investors in Thailand and 300 Thai businesses are expected to take part in the event. 

Most of them are in the food and processed agricultural, automobiles and parts, and electronics industries.

The Industry Ministry plans to lure Japanese and other foreign investors, which have never gained a foothold in Thailand, to invest more in SMEs, local businesses and new industries by giving them more investment privileges and facilitating their investment through making some legal amendments.

The Japanese investors will be convinced to use the country as their manufacturing base and stepping stone to neighbouring countries. Joint investment for trade of raw materials and parts is also expected.

There could be technological transfers particularly for smart products including those in the automobile and processed food fields. 

This would lead to innovation in new fields following a development plan for Thailand’s targeted industries including aviation, robots and medical equipment, he added.

According to Jetro’s press release yesterday, since 2017 marks the 130th anniversary of Japan-Thailand diplomatic relations and METI Minister Hiroshige Seko’s visit to Thailand, Jetro decided to organise the delegation of more than 500 members from Japan to visit Thailand from September 11-13. 

Members of the delegation comprise Japanese executives of big corporations, who also represent major business communities, and leading SMEs nationwide from various businesses including the 10 target industries promoted by the Thai government.

As part of the three-day itinerary arranged by Jetro and the Thai administration, the delegates will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at Government House. 

They will also attend the “Symposium on Thailand 4.0 towards Connected Industries” with Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and Seko delivering the keynote speeches. 

Business networking will be held to strengthen business alliances between Japanese and Thai enterprises particularly from the automobile, electronics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture, food, biotechnology and service industries. 

To give them first-hand experience and understanding of the EEC, a site visit to U-Tapao airport and related facilities has been included.

Hiroki Mitsumata, president of Jetro Bangkok, said this delegation organised by Jetro could be said to be the biggest. 

This reflects the extraordinary interest in business opportunities and partnerships from Thai and Japanese businessmen in accordance with Thailand’s key policies such as Thailand 4.0, EEC and regional connectivity, due to Thailand’s strategic location in Asean and the Mekong Subregion, Jetro said.