Thailand seeks Indian investments for future growth

15 Feb 2017


Thailand has sought Indian investment in a number of sectors, such as aerospace, automation, medical devices, pharmaceutical, bio-technology and IT/ITes, to drive growth through value-based investments.

Thailand, which is looking for foreign investments into the country, mainly in the innovation-driven high-tech sectors, sees India as a "great partner" for the future.

"I see India as a great partner for the future. We really want to work with the Indian government," Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said explaining the role India could play in the Thailand 4.0 initiative.

Under the initiative Thailand hopes to move from a manufacturing focused economy to a knowledge-driven one and is implementing a plan to attract foreign investment in identified sectors.

"We would like to work with India in certain areas such as hi-tech," Jatusripitak said.

Thailand recently revised its Investment Promotion Act and the Competitiveness Enhancement Act to allow the Board of Investment (BOI) to provide new incentives to investors.

The Thailand Board of Investment, which has invited 2,500 investors from across countries to its mega seminar Opportunity Thailand 2017 this week, is especially interested in investments from India, an official from the Thai government said.

''According to the government's Thailand 4.0 model, 10 target industries have been identified as the new engines of growth to transform the country into a regional innovation hub through the use of creativity, advanced technology, research and development and human resource development. Indian companies can contribute in all these sectors,'' the Hindu BusinessLine quoted Kanokporn Chotipal, director and consul (investment), Thailand Board of Investment, as saying.

Chotipal said the proposed India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement could play a big role in boosting bilateral trade and investments.

''A full-fledged FTA can play a vital role to boost trade for both sides, and will lead to investment as well. Trade volume has increased significantly after the Early Harvest Scheme of Thailand-India was put in place and the ASEAN-India FTA was implemented. Definitely, an FTA can complement each other's economy in the long run,'' she said.

She said the two governments should draw the attention of investors and businesses to the benefit of each other from the FTA, so that they are able to utilise the privileges offered.

India exported goods worth $3billion to Thailand in 2015-16, while its imports from that country were valued at $5.5 billion.

Medical tourism and pharmaceuticals are areas where Indian companies could have a lot of opportunities, she pointed out.

''Thailand is not only one of the best tourist destinations in the world, but is also good for medical tourism. We are the medical hub of the ASEAN region with many foreigners coming to the country to get world-class treatment. We have a big gap between demand and local supply of pharmaceutical and medical devices that India can fulfill,'' she said.

Some of the identified industries that would find focus in Opportunity Thailand 2017 seminar include next-generation automotive, smart electronics, digital, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agricultural and biotechnology, food for the future, aerospace, and automation and robotics.

Kanokporn said, so far investment from India into Thailand has been low compared with Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and the Netherlands; so there is potential for growth.

''India should consider Thailand because our infrastructure is excellent, transparency of rules and regulations and, of course, costs are still low compared with other developed countries in ASEAN.''

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