China Encouraged To Increase Investment Volume in Thailand

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has encouraged the Chinese government to increase its investment in Thailand, saying the kingdom can be the perfect regional logistics hub thanks to its strategic location.

General Prayut met with the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to the Government House on Tuesday.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana summarized the meeting, saying that the Thai prime minister had thanked Chinese authorities for their support during the Covid-19 pandemic and praised the relationship between the two nations.

Both sides agreed to further strengthen their ties after marking their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’s 10th anniversary, the spokesman added.

General Prayut highlighted the bilateral trade’s growing volume, which has increased by 20% in this year’s first four months, and thanked Beijing for facilitating the shipment of the agricultural products from Thailand to China.

Mr. Thanakorn said that the prime minister had invited China to increase its investment in the country, explaining that the Eastern Economic Corridor (CEE) was ready to invest in industries where Chinese companies operate, including electric cars and agribusiness.

The Chinese representative spoke about the importance of the China-Laos railway project and expanding the local railway system to boost trade and tourism. General Prayut also said that the government was committed to ensuring that the Thailand-China high-speed rail project is completed on time.

With 38.6 billion pledged for 112 projects, China came second in foreign direct investment (FDI) to Thailand last year. With a total investment value of 80.7 billion baht for 178 projects, Japan came in first place while Singapore remained in the third position with 96 projects totaling 29.7 billion baht.

Electrical appliances and electronics, petrochemicals, chemicals, and medical clusters were the top three industries for FDI applications.

The Board of Investment (BOI) reported that FDI accounted for 71% of all investment pledges in 2021, totaling 455 billion baht for 783 project applications, a number three times higher than that recorded in 2020, with applications totaling 169 billion baht.

Mr. Wang, who arrived in Thailand on Monday and met with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai, said: “The aim of building [a global community] corresponds to the saying ‘China-Thailand are not strangers, but siblings’. It will make our relationship even stronger. I think the people of the two countries will believe in our attempt to develop closer ties.”

The Chinese official also said his government’s goal was to boost logistics, trade and investment to develop such industries in Thailand, China, and Laos. Mr. Wang and General Prayut also signed a memorandum of understanding on enhanced cyber cooperation between the two countries.