JCC calls for transparency in BoI plan

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce (JCC) has urged the military government to ensure transparency in the Board of Investment's new investment promotion strategy which will be implemented in January 2015.

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Hisamichi Koga, president of the JCC in Bangkok, proposed to ACM Prajin Juntong, head of the junta's economic team, during a meeting early this week, that the procedure of the new investment promotion strategy should be built around transparency and fairness to eliminate corruption.

Mr Koga said in a statement that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should strengthen competitiveness through free trade agreements and create transparency in government procedures.

Under the new seven-year plan, the BoI will promote investment in seven sectors — agro-industry and agricultural products; minerals, ceramics and basic metals; light industry; metal products, machinery and transport equipment; electrical and electronics; chemicals, plastics, paper and services; and infrastructure.

Sector-based incentives will become merit-based by reducing the basic tax incentives and providing additional incentives based on the project's merit to enhance activities such as research and development and environmental protection.

The NCPO recently set up the National Reform Council and 11 reform plans are on the cards.

"We're considering relaxing investment procedures and zoning, improving the reward system for customs officers, enabling foreigners to invest in the service sector," ACM Prajin said in a statement.

ACM Prajin continued that the military government will cooperate with other Asean countries concerning free trade agreements although some issues should be reserved only for Thais rather than a complete liberalisation.

According to a recent survey of Japanese investors, most expressed confidence in Thailand's current economic situation. Japanese companies here expect to see a better outlook in the second half of this year, compared with the same period last year, and their investment plans are unlikely to change.

"We still consider Thailand the most important country in Asean and we will contribute to the promotion and development of Thailand's society and economy," said Mr Koga.

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