BANGKOK, Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/Korea IT Times -- In celebration of the 130th anniversary of Thailand-Japan diplomatic relations, the Thai government joined force with economic organizations in the public and private sectors in welcoming a delegation of over 570 high-ranking Japanese investors and government officials visiting Thailand. Both parties were making a historic move in economic relationship enhancement by jointly exploring trade and investment opportunities in the special one-day symposium on "Thailand 4.0 towards Connected Industries" and a visit to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). A number of Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) were signed during the visit to promote cooperation in trade and investment promotion as well as human resource development.
Thai government led by Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Uttama Savanayana, Minister attached to the PM’s Office, and Mrs. Apiradee Tantraporn, Minister of Commerce welcomed Mr. Hiroshige Seko, METI and a delegation of over 570 high-ranking Japanese investors and government officials at the symposium on “Thailand 4.0 towards Connected Industries” which demonstrate new opportunities in investment and trade between Thai and Japan business people.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak, the Japanese mission showed strong interest in the Thailand 4.0 economic model, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project development and the 10 target industries, particularly in industries driven by advanced future technology.
Courtesy visit to Thai Prime Minister
As part of this celebration, Japan's Minister of Economic, Trade and Investment (METI) and the Japanese delegation had the opportunity to pay a courtesy visit to Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Government House on 11 September 2017.
During the courtesy visit, the Thai Prime Minister shared with Japanese mission Thailand 4.0 economic model and strategy in driving economic growth through the development of EEC and urged for both countries' collaboration in turning the area into a strategic business hub of the region.
Strong Japanese business presence in Thailand
Dr. Somkid said that throughout the past 130 years the close relationship between Thailand and Japan had brought vast benefits in terms of economic and political development, trade cooperation, industrial development, investment activities and tourism.
He added that Japan remained the largest foreign investor in Thailand, accounting for 40 per cent of total foreign investment. It is Thailand's second most important trade partner after China. In the first half of 2017 alone, Japan is the largest investor applying for promotional incentives through the Board of Investment (BOI), representing 55 per cent of total foreign investment applications. In the first half of this year, Japanese investors applied for many large-scale projects, such as 19.54-billion-baht hybrid vehicle production, 15.18-billion-baht special polymer and chemical product manufacturing and 5-billion-baht vehicle production.
The strong relations between Thailand and Japan can also be seen from the high number of 1,748 companies that are members of Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok.
To further strengthen the relationship, more cooperation will be promoted, especially in the business and industrial sectors, both in breadth and depth. The government will back that up by enhancing confidence in economic potential that will lead to high level of cooperation in the future.
130th anniversary celebration activities
Dr. Somkid said the Thai government led a group of economic ministers and executives from related organizations to visit Japan in June this year and discussed cooperation with the Japanese government and the business sector, including Keidanren or the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations.
The mission resulted in significant progress in many projects and new MOUs for more cooperation, especially an MOU between Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment (METI) and Thailand's Ministry of Industry in upgrading industrial capability, promoting SME development and supporting the development of the EEC in Thailand.
The June visit also led to this special 11-13 September Japanese delegation by Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment. The delegation included over 570 high-ranking executives from JETRO, Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, JAPAN (SMRJ), Keidanren and private companies. The large number of Japanese investors joining this mission marked a new milestone and emphasized Japanese investors' confidence in Thailand. The mission also cemented both countries' commitment to work hand in hand to promote economic development.
Opportunities explored at symposium on Thailand 4.0
The Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commerce, the Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand, the BOI, the Board of Trade of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Bankers' Association jointly hosted the symposium on "Thailand 4.0 towards Connected Industries". The symposium demonstrated new opportunities in investment and trade between Thai and Japan business people, involving both large and small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as promoted closer collaboration between both countries' government sectors. The symposium attracted more than 1,200 people.
Among the key topics presented at the event were highlights of the 10 S-Curve industries which have received support from METI for industrial reform and technology transfer towards Thailand 4.0 under the "Connected Industries" strategy of the Japanese government. Under this cooperation, digital technology will be applied and integrated with industrial technology to create innovative work processes.
New MOUs were signed between the Thai government and the Japanese trade mission, including:
1) Cooperation in driving industrial sector development between Keidanren, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Board of Trade of Thailand
2) Cooperation in promoting EEC development between the EEC Office, JICA and Hitachi
3) "Flex Campus" - Cooperation in human resource development to support Industry 4.0. Japan will share knowledge in engineering and vocational education through the MOUs between Thailand's Department of Industrial Promotion and the Embassy of Japan in Thailand
4) Cooperation between Thailand's Ministry of Industry and SMRJ of Japan to improve Thailand's SME support and assistance bodies
5) Trade cooperation between Thailand's Department of International Trade and JETRO.
In addition to the MOUs signing, a business matching activity was held to encourage more trade and investment between the two countries, especially in the five industries, namely 1) automotive, 2) electrical and electronic appliances, 3) agriculture, food and healthcare industry, 4) service business and 5) the government and financial institutions.
Joint efforts to promote EEC
To promote cooperation between Japan and Thailand in EEC development policy and plans, the Thai government led by Dr. Uttama Savanayana, Industry Minister, will bring the Japanese mission to visit the EEC, U-Tapao Airport and industrial estates in the EEC area. This will allow participants to closely experience the project's potential and development progress, from basic infrastructure like deep sea ports, airport, utilities and industrial estates to the Thai government's strong commitment to advancing the EEC to become a new economic hub for Thailand and Southeast Asia.