Thailand Seeking to Benefit from US-China Tensions

Oct 2019

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) approved four investment projects from Japan, Taiwan and Singapore worth around USD 1 billion in September 2019. According to the BOI, the largest of the four projects consists is a joint venture between Thai, Japanese and Taiwanese companies to produce thermoplastic for cars and electronics. Another involves Japan’s Ajinomoto Co Inc. In the same month, Thailand also signed a trade agreement with India worth around USD 340 million, in an effort to promoting the country as a regional trade hub.

The country is seeking to attract investors looking to new countries to relocate to as a consequence of the trade war between the United States and China. In this endeavor, the country is competing with neighboring Vietnam. In September, Thailand’s government announced a new package of measures, called ‘Thailand Plus’ aimed at attracting more foreign investment:

  • Investment projects worth at least THB 1 billion (USD 32.26 million) in the identified activities submitted to the BOI by the end of 2020 will be entitled to additional 5 years of 50% reduction of corporate income tax, on the condition that at least THB 1 billion of actual investment is put in place by December 2021.
  • Employers will be eligible for special deduction of training expenses related to advanced technology endorsed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation in order to expedite reskilling and upskilling of the workforce. Expenses spent hiring new highly skilled manpower, in fields of science and technology will also be entitled to special deduction. Moreover, the BOI will also upgrade its incentives scheme with a view to encouraging the industry to be actively engaged in STEM training.
  • Investments in automation systems will be entitled to double deduction with a view to further strengthening and accelerating transformation of Thailand’s industry.
  • An investment steering committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, will be set up to coordinate the consideration and facilitation of the investment projects, especially those involving large investments.

(Sources: Reuters; The Economic Times)

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