ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thailand needs shift on skills
Dusit Nontanakorn, the TCC chairman said Board of Investment promotional privileges for the past 20 years needed revision. Labour-intensive businesses such as factories should relocate to border areas for lower-cost foreign workers. This would also generate greater income distribution to rural areas.
Industries remaining in the central parts of the country, be proposed, need to overhaul production processes and management systems to employ mainly skilled labour. This will discourage worker migration from rural outer areas to the central region.
He said that even more importantly, the government should promote environmentally friendly industries and disband those that harm the environment.
He also said government-approved industries should make significant investments in both technology and social responsibility.
Thailand continues to attract foreign investment despite the difficulty from the Map Ta Phut regulatory issue, he said. "But the Map Ta Phut issues are something foreign investors feel very uncomfortable about, as Thailand is no longer predictable."
The BoI said 777 projects applied for investment incentives in the first seven months of the year, up by 43 percent year-on-year, but their value slid 1.4 percent to 214 billion baht. Foreign direct investment (FDI) reached 108 billion baht, up from 74 billion in the same period last year.
Mr. Dusit said FDI would be bolstered by prospects for the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which is to take effect in 2015, as well as Thailand's strong economic fundamentals.
"The Asean market will be a promising venue over the next five years as it prepares to expand to cover 580 million people," he said.
"Everyone wants to explore investment opportunities in Asean, but Thai investors need to position ourselves in those industries we see as becoming the leaders.
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