Thailand and Japan pledged closer economic cooperation and the visiting Japanese prime minister promised an investment in the electrical vehicles industry in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) this year.
The pledges were made on May 2 when Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha discussed economic cooperation plans with Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida.
According to Thai officials, the two sides discussed and agreed to draft a five-year plan for economic cooperation as soon as possible to develop their economic partnership. The five-year plan will be used for driving economic cooperation between the two countries.
Prayut also pledged support for the Asia-Japan Investing for the Future (AJIF) initiative of Japan. The Japanese prime minister said the initiative will see Japanese entrepreneurs invest more in the EEC, and especially in the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
The Japanese prime minister said Thailand has potential for investments by Japanese firms and Thailand is considered by Japan as the most important investment base in Southeast Asia.
Kishida also said during the meeting that Japanese carmakers would continue to use Thailand as their manufacturing base and would focus on making advanced vehicles.
The two prime ministers agreed to work towards advanced human resources development. Kishida said Japan would build more Kosen (National Institute of Technology) branches in Thailand.
Japan will also cooperate with Thailand to develop infrastructure and develop clean energy technology to promote carbon zero-emission that would benefit Japanese investments in Thailand in the long term, Kishida was quoted as saying during the meeting.
EEC Office deputy secretary-general Phet Shinabutr said Japan aims to invest 25 billion baht ($728 million) in the EEC this year, compared to 19.8 billion baht last year.
Prayut thanked Kishida for providing aid and support in various forms to Thailand to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Prayut expressed appreciation for Japan’s donation of Covid vaccines, oxygen-generating machines, and equipment for storing vaccines as well as providing soft loans to Thailand to mitigate the Covid economic impact.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK