Indian businessmen must look at Thailand as potential investment base: Minister

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New Delhi, June 4 (ANI): Pitching aggressively for Indian businessmen to look at Thailand as a potential investment base, visiting Thai Industry Minister Chanchai Chairungruang on Thursday met captains of Indian industry on the sidelines of a six-day road show that concludes on June 7.

Chairungruang said his interactions with Indian businessmen revealed a very high level of interest, given that Thailand currently offers incentives that are parallel, if not better, than what was on offer from other ASEAN members and countries outside that forum's periphery.

The minister said that he was in India to "restore confidence and understanding of leading Indian businessmen towards Thailand's investment promotion policy, as also to present Thailand as a welcoming country for all investors."

Describing India as a developing country with fast and consistent economic growth, besides being an emerging market in focus, Chairungruang said: "The road show is giving us the opportunity to meet with leading business companies with potential in investment and encourage them to view Thailand as their investment base."

He said that road shows in India had been undertaken to Mumbai, Pune, Taloja and New Delhi.

Chairungruang further said that with India emerging as a global economic superpower, Indian firms are looking at South East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) as potentially very important markets.

'This is where Thailand can partner India. A highly-skilled talent pool, years of experience in supporting large and complex manufacturing, close proximity and market access to ASEAN, China, Australia and New Zealand, makes Thailand an apt fit for Indian companies looking to establish or expand their footprints in the South East Asia region," said Chairungruang.

With bilateral trade amounting to six billion USD in 2008 as compared to two billion USD in 2004, he said that the Government of Thailand is confident that there is a lot of scope to enhance India-Thailand trade, especially under the "Early Harvest Scheme" and the impending ASEAN-India FTA.

He said that once the FTA was inked, tariff reduction would take place in more than 4,700 categories from January 1, 2010.

The Secretary-General of the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI), Atchaka Brimble, endorsed Minister Chairungruang's pitch by saying that the ASEAN-India FTA would greatly benefit Indian and ASEAN manufacturers, especially those involved with automotive components, telecommunications, electrical appliances, aluminum products, energy and wind energy products, infrastructure, travel and tourism and transportation.

Brimble said the Thai delegation is keenly scouting for Indian corporate investment in the fields of auto, telecom, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agri-machinery, textiles, carbon-black, automotive assembly, power and stell, among others.

She said that in 2009, the BOI plans to organize three more road shows to India, besides sending Thai investors to India on investment-related tours to give them an idea about business opportunities and markets in India.

So far in 2009, Thailand has approved four investment applications from India worth 2,489 million Baht. In 2008, she said 22 projects from India worth 1,588 million Baht were approved.

Indorama Polymer, TATA Motors, NTES Steel Group, the Aditya Birla Group and Alva Aluminum are companies already actively invested in Thailand, she concluded. y Ashok Dixit (ANI)

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