Thailand’s Transport Investment to Enhance the Competitiveness of the Mekong Subregion

by Duangkamol Buranasomphop


Thailand is accelerating transport infrastructure development, with an investment budget of more than seven trillion yen in the next eight years.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha told a group of Japanese business people that Thailand’s investment in transport infrastructure would reduce logistics costs and promote connectivity with its neighboring countries. The project will also help enhance the competitiveness of all countries in the Mekong subregion.
Prime Minister General Prayut, together with leaders of CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam) met the Japanese business people during their visit to Tokyo on 2-4 July 2015 for the Seventh Mekong-Japan Summit. He hoped that Japan would continue to play an important role in the Mekong subregion, which was cited as one of the most prosperous and dynamic economic centers in the world.
As for Thailand, he said, the Thai economy in 2015 is expected to grow by 3-4 percent and Thailand attaches great importance to creating a favorable atmosphere conducive to foreign investment in the country and the Mekong subregion. For instance, the Thai government has revised a law to offer more incentives for foreign companies investing in setting up international headquarters and international trading centers in Thailand. Foreign investors could also use Thailand as their production base to expand their investment to other countries in this region, in the form of "Thailand+1.”
Thailand and Japan in May 2015 signed a memorandum of cooperation to develop three rail projects. The first project involves the construction of a rail route for high-speed trains from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The second one involves a railway line linking Kanchanaburi with Bangkok, Aranyaprathet, and Laem Chabang. The third one is the Mae Sot – Mukdahan route along the East-West Economic Corridor.
Moreover, the Prime Minister said that Thailand is pushing for the setting up of special economic zones in six border provinces by the end of 2015. The provinces include Tak connecting with Myanmar; Mukdahan and Nong Khai connecting with Lao PDR; Sa Kaeo and Trat linking with Cambodia; and Songkhla linking with Malaysia.
He urged the Japanese to invest in these special economic zones, where they would be able to link their businesses and industries with other economic and industrial zones in Thailand’s neighboring countries. Japanese SME operators were also encouraged to invest in the Mekong subregion, especially in agro-industry, renewable energy development, and high-technology industrial projects.
On this occasion, Prime Minister General Prayut witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Intent on the Dawei Development Project between Thailand, Myanmar, and Japan. The Thai government had approved a budget of 16,500 million yen for infrastructure development to link Dawei with Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard, which will also connect to Cambodia and Vietnam.




Duangkamol Buranasomphop

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