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Thailand urges firms to accelerate investments

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Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak (centre) and BoI secretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit (right).THE NATION

Thailand urges firms to accelerate investments

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak on Monday instructed the Board of Investment (BoI) to work with the Ministry of Finance on measures aimed at encouraging businesses to accelerate their investments in the next six months, taking advantage of the strong baht.

He added that the measures should focus on drawing investors to take advantage of the strong baht in the imports of machinery and capital goods as it will help stem rise of the Thai currency.

The two state agencies were told to submit their proposals for consideration by the BoI’s board next month.

From January 3-17, Kasikornbank expects the baht to move within a range of 30.00-30.40 baht per dollar. Key factors to be monitored closely include signals for subsequent phases of the Sino-US trade talks, issues surrounding Brexit and the situation in the Middle East, it said.

Somkid also told the BoI to launch new measures to promote investment in tourism sector, creative economy, and green industry. He wanted BoI to use all its tools to restructure the Thai economy.

Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political affairs, said the BoI would convene a meeting with the finance ministry’s departments in charge of export-import and tax collection this week to discuss relevant measures.

The value of projects applying for tax privileges at the BoI last year reached 756.1 billion baht, exceeding the target of 750 billion baht, as reported to Somkid on Monday.

The number of applications last year was 1,624, of which 506 were investments in Eastern Economic Corridor investment, amounting to 457.9 billion baht.

Chinese top applications

BoIsecretary-general Duangjai Asawachintachit said last year was the first year Chinese investors led the value of the projects applying for BoI tax privileges.

Total value of the Chinese projects stood at 260 billion baht last year, up from 210 billion baht the previous year.

The jump in value was attributed to the 160 billion baht investment in the high speed train project linking three major international airports in Thailand.

Japanese investors came second with 73 billion baht in total project value, up 11 billion baht from 2018.

She added that the BoI is working on the target of total project value in the applications for privileges this year. It will be tabled for the board’s consideration next month.

Duangjai said investment trend in Thailand this year showed good signs after the board revised several rules and conditions, adding more incentives and benefits in order to accelerate investments.

The NATION (Thailand)/Asia News Network

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