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Thailand is door to Asean, says Jetro
Publication Date : 09-09-2013
Many global investors are eyeing growing markets and economies in Asean countries and Thailand is definitely the hub of the Mekong region, so more Japanese are looking here - and expanding into neighbouring countries, according Setsuo Iuchi, president of the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) Bangkok.
He added that Thailand had developed a lot and has many factories for many industries. But at the same time, Thailand was seeing some labour shortage and rising labour costs, while there are growing markets in neighbouring countries. So many investors were looking at opportunities to use Thailand to expand to neighbouring countries.
"Many companies are looking for opportunities in the growing markets and Vietnam has nearly 100 million people. Indonesia has 240 million people and their incomes are increasing. So we see the opportunities. At the same time Thailand has attracted a steady inflow of investment from Japan. Last year we saw a big increase because of the recovery from the floods and expansion. At the same time this year we may see some steady inflow [of investment]," he said.
When talking about the expanded economic region, including the Asean Economic Community (AEC), Japanese investors want more connectivity with other states around Thailand. They hope to see infrastructure to link with neighbouring countries as well as soft infrastructure like simplified customs systems or transportation that is easier.
He said that based on a recent survey of Japanese companies here, they said that there was little change in investment policy in Thailand so far.
"We have enjoyed a good relations with Thailand for many years and we have seen good development of not only certain industries but also every kind of industry in Thailand, including very skilled people. If we want to develop in the mekong region, we hope to go with Thailand to expand to neighbouring countries," he said.