Thailand striving for bio-economy with investment incentives

Green is the way to go for investors in Thailand. That was the message from Deputy Prime Minister  Somkid Jatusripitak as the Board of Investment unveiled generous incentives for investors willing to help build the Kingdom’s bio-economy by funding research and development, and innovation.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid said that growing a lucrative bio-economy would serve the dual purposes of reducing income disparities for farmers while also creating goods with higher value through collaborations between agriculture, industry, and science.

“The package to promote Thailand as a bio-economy hub not only gives large companies an opportunity but also supports community businesses and agricultural cooperatives,” Somkid said.

The Board of Investment (BoI) said its initial package would grant investors an eight-year corporate tax exemption and additional corporate tax privileges after the tax holiday, depending on their investment in research and development, and assistance measures to farmers.

The Board believes the incentives can nourish development of bio-economy clusters nationwide. “For example, northern provinces may use fruit as raw materials, the Northeast could use sugar cane and tapioca, while southern provinces could use palm and rubber,” Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary-general of the BoI.

The Cabinet has already approved a bio-economy development plan. In it, the government names five components of the bio-economy: bio-energy, bio-chemicals, food, animal feed, and bio-pharmaceuticals.

Thailand possesses a wealth of natural resources to fuel a bio-economy, some of them unique to the Kingdom. A vibrant and diverse agricultural sector is already one of Thailand’s strengths. During the past several decades, the Kingdom has also emerged as an industrial powerhouse. Today, Thailand is striving to increase its level of research capabilities and science prowess to raise and sustain national competitiveness.

“Through connecting these three key industries, we will be able to uplift the grassroots economy and make high-value Thai products part of the global value chain,” Somkid said.

“The key challenge for reforming Thailand’s economic structure is that for so long, we have been functioning as a low-value driven economy, producing and exporting only raw materials for other countries to transform and create additional value to,” the Deputy Prime Minister added.

He said the BoI is now required to include measures to reduce income disparities in any new packages it designs for investors in any industry or sector.