Japan investors 'still sceptical'

business March 09, 2012 00:00


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Despite Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's visit to their country this week, Japanese investors remain doubtful whether Thailand can prevent a repeat of last year's severe floods as the government does not seem to have a clear time frame for its actio


The private sector called on the government to prioritise the country’s problem management after ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced that he would come back to Thailand within this year.

Phongsak Assakul, chairman of the Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who joined Yingluck’s official visit to Japan, said the mis?sion had helped boost the confi?dence of Japanese investors after the government laid out clear plans for both short- and long-term flood management to 1,200 entrepreneurs.

However, investors questioned the effective?ness of the flood-preven?tion measures as the gov?ernment did not give a clear time frame for starting either its short-term or long-term action plans.

Phongsak urged the govern?ment to set a clear time frame to assure both Thai and foreign investors so that they will have the confidence to continue investing in Thailand.

Yingluck’s mission to Japan, leading a group of Thai business?people, started on Tuesday and is scheduled to end today. The mission aimed to boost the confidence of Japanese investors in Thailand’s water-man?agement measures. Japanese investors were among the worst hit dur?ing the severe inunda?tion late last year.

Board of Trade secre?tary-general Vichai Assarasakorn said private enterprises wanted the government to focus on the country’s benefit as the issue of utmost concern. He said it should carefully prioritise its tasks, as some moves could lead to conflict.

He called on the government to solve the current problems regarding flooding, corruption, the rising cost of living, and social difficulties as priorities before raising any issues that could lead to political conflict and curtail economic growth.

Moreover, Vichai said the gov?ernment should not be too strin?gent on price controls as private enterprises were facing higher costs of production.

He said enterprises would increase the retail prices of goods reasonably, as they are highly con?cerned about competitiveness. The government should increase efficiency by creating alternatives for consumers while allowing the market mechanism to do its work so as to balance fair benefits for enterprises and consumers.