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Steel giant encouraged to invest in Thailand


April 10, 2008

Steel giant encouraged to invest in Thailand

Lakshmi Mittal, the visiting chief executive of steel giant ArcelorMittal, said he saw good investment potential in Thailand but stressed that there was a need to boost productivity.

Speaking Wednesday at an economic conference organised by former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Mittal said he was willing to consider possible investments in Thailand by the world's largest steelmaker.

"Thailand has lots of potential in investment and opportunities to participate in world business," Mittal was quoted by AFP news agency as saying. He also urged the country to lower the costs of doing business here, and finding ways of boosting productivity to make Thailand more competitive globally.

Mittal said that Thaksin, who is also a billionaire businessman, has tried to encourage him and his son to invest in Thailand.

"Since we arrived yesterday, we have been kept busy with him talking about Thailand and its growth, his vision. So, we are very excited that we should invest in this country," Mittal said.

Thaksin, who was toppled in a military coup in 2006, said Thailand needs to show the world that the nation has mended its political wounds in order to draw more investments.

"We need to help draw cash from abroad into the country. What we should do is signal that Thailand is at peace," Thaksin said. "Thai people have potential, but we need to be better united in constructive ways."

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