US investors are confident about Thailand, Prayut says

THE NATION, August 8, 2015 – Investors from the United States have expressed their confidence in Thailand and are ready to invest in the country, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.

This statement came after some 70 foreign investors from the US-Asean Business Council (USABC) met Prayut at Government House yesterday.

Those attending the meeting represented 29 US firms, including AIG, Caterpillar, Chevron, Cigna, Cisco, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor, General Electric, GSK, Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, Monsanto and Seagate.

After the meeting, Prayut said he expected to see more investment from these companies next year as they had been in contact with ministries and the Board of Investment.

As for concerns over Thailand’s situation, Prayut denied there were any, especially in terms of political developments as this group already had other investments in the country.

The key issue is to ease obstacles to trade and investment for all countries, including the United States, the prime minister said, adding that some legal amendments had been made and one-stop centres established for quicker services and more convenience.

“Having investments requires capital and opportunities, which come after investors’ confidence is boosted. Everything takes time. Businesses in energy, health and medicine fields are ready to invest,” Prayut said, adding that he had told them to transfer knowledge to Thailand.

According to Deputy Government Spokesman Weerachon Sukhonthapatipak, Prayuthighlighted Thailand’s strengths, including the fact that it is an Asean hub for economic activities, and had policies and tax measures in place to promote the establishment of an international trading centre in the Kingdom.

Other strategic measures to put in place include legal amendments for the facilitation of trade and investment and promotion of US businesses via Public-Private Partnership.

USABC president Alexander Feldman said Thailand had the potential to grow in the future, and would reflect its progress in tackling human trafficking. Thailand is still in the lowest Tier 3 level of the latest US “Trafficking in Persons” report.

Meanwhile, Chevron’s representative said the company would make long-term investments in Thailand, as well as hold social-responsibility activities.

The representative for MasterCard said the company was interested in Thailand’s “digital economy”, and called on the government for more support.

The representative for GSK said the firm was ready to help the government with its plan to turn the country into a healthcare hub. Automaker Ford Motor’s representative called on the government to provide more support for skill development in the automobile industry, as well as invest in modern technology for car production.

Agriculture company Monsanto expressed an interest in turning Thailand into a “seed hub”, given its perfect location for seed production.