The electric vehicle (EV) industry will become a key economic engine for Thailand if the government is able to attract foreign investors looking for new investment destinations, according to WHA Corporation Plc.
Thailand can take advantage of its large, well-established auto industry, which is ranked 11th globally for auto manufacturing, said Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, chairman and group chief executive of WHA, a developer of industrial estates and built-to-suit logistics facilities.
“Investors are interested in Thailand because of good infrastructure and facilities as well as skilled labourers to serve new S-curve industries,” she told a seminar held yesterday by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council.
The government must be quick to identify the demands of prospective investors, especially automakers who see Thailand as a future EV production and export base.
“The government should ask investors what they want in order to support their investments,” said Ms Jareeporn.
The current tax incentive and investment privilege packages must be made more attractive to draw more investors, she said.
The government also needs to remove unnecessary procedures that may delay approval of investment project proposals, said Ms Jareeporn.
The US-China trade war and ongoing Russia-Ukraine war are causing an impact on many businesses, she said.
“New investments are likely to move to the East, not the West as happened in the past,” said Ms Jareeporn.
Under these conditions, the Thai government must build up confidence among prospective investors so they will invest here, she said.
“Many foreign investors are seeking an opportunity in Asean. They want to relocate their production base following the trade war, with most of them focusing on Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia,” said Ms Jareeporn.
Thailand was previously known for its Eastern Seaboard scheme that aimed to attract investors. Now the country has the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme, with the goal to build a high-tech industrial hub that spans parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces.
“This shows the country has great potential to become a new production base for many industries, including EVs and electronics,” she said.