November 18, 2007
THAILAND-JAPAN : Investment
Japanese steelmakers keen to invest
Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Kosit Panpiamras claimed that top Japanese carmakers and steel conglomerates are keen on investing in Thailand despite short-term factors including oil price.
Mr. Kosit spoke to reporters after meeting top executives of Nissan and the Nippon Steel Corporation.
The minister expressed his view that the companies are "long-term investors" who look beyond the host of short-term volatilities.
In particular, he said, Nippon Steel is interested in upstream activities of steel production, which is what Thailand wants.
Top executives of Nissan Motors meanwhile inquired about incentives for investment in environment-friendly vehicles, the so-called eco-car project. Mr. Kosit emphasised the high value and long-term benefits of these two potential investment projects.
"In the eco-car segment, we are confident that at least two companies are prepared to put Bt15 billion into Thailand and more should follow. As for upstream steel production, the potential investment could be worth over three billion dollars," the minister indicate.
Mr. Kosit said the National Economic and Social Development Board has been assigned to prepare a detailed plan to develop the upstream steel industry in Thailand, most likely to be located along the southern seaboard development zone spanning the provinces of Chumphon, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
The minister emphasised that any detailed plan resulting from NESDB work will undergo a public hearing process involving the public, in order to avoid setbacks experienced by, for example, the development of the Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong.
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