Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged South Korean investors to ramp up
investment and trade with Thailand, pledging to consider offering incentives
and privileges for them to invest in the country.
Gen Prayut on Monday met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who led an
economic team and more than 500 private companies and investors from South
Korea to attend the Thailand-Korea Business Forum during his official visit to
Mr Moon is the first South Korean leader to visit Thailand for seven years.
Before the forum in the afternoon on Monday, Gen Prayut hosted a meeting with
him at Government House in the morning and the two leaders pledged to
strengthen their strategic partnership to boost relations between East and
The two countries agreed to foster cooperation on issues ranging from
security to economics as a way to promote ties.
At the forum, the premier said Thailand has initiated its Thailand 4.0
vision to transform the country's economic structure from an agriculture-based economy
into a value or digital-based economy. In addition, the government is also
developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) for innovative and
high-technology industries that South Koreans should consider investing in.
"The Thai government welcomes South Korean investment and is willing
to support and facilitate all South Korean investors. I've ordered the Board of
Investment and related agencies to work closely with Korean partners to
accelerate Korean investment value in Thailand," Gen Prayut said.
To date, 400 South Korean companies have invested in Thailand, while the
trade value between Thailand and South Korea stands at US$14-15 billion
(428-459 billion baht).
"I hope the number of South Korean companies investing in Thailand
will be more than 400 and I also expect to see our bilateral trade value
increase to US$20 billion by 2020," Gen Prayut said.
The premier said South Korean companies have several technologies that
would suit the EEC project well. He said South Korean companies that bring these
technologies and new investments to the EEC would create a win-win situation as
they could also use Thailand as a hub to expand their businesses to other
countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Gen Prayut voiced his belief that this is the right time for Thailand and
South Korea to tighten their relationship and become trade partners given many
infrastructure project developments in the country.
"South Korea has had great experience in turning its country into an
advanced economy, so I hope that Thailand can stand to benefit from technology
transfer with South Korea in the long run," he said.
Gen Prayut also praised the South Korean president for implementing the
"New Southern Policy", which he said will pave the way for the
expansion of cooperation with both Thailand and Asean, particularly in terms of
the economy, connectivity, development, education and culture.
"As Thailand is now the Asean chair, I confirm that Asean is ready to
further and enhance cooperation with South Korea in all respects in order to
achieve our shared goals," he said.
Last year, Asean was the second-largest trading partner for South Korea,
while South Korea is ranked fifth among Asean's trade partners.
Speaking from the same stage, President Moon said Thailand is now one of
the most important partners for his government's New Southern Policy intended
to strengthen and broaden partnerships with Southeast Asian nations and India.
"Thailand is a true friend of the Republic of Korea and was the first
country to come to its aid amid great turmoil during the Korean War. The Korean
people will never forget the dedication and sacrifice of the Thai Korean War
veterans and remain grateful to this day," he said.
Mr Moon said that South Korea and Thailand have a tremendous opportunity
to become trade partners, adding that South Korea's strengths in many
industries identified as targeted industries by the Thai government, including
automation, smart automotive, energy, digital technology, among others could
help Thailand to achieve its 4.0 goal.