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The Future of Asia 2012

Thailand Safe For Investors, To Go High Tech: Trade Official

Friday, May 25, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Thailand Trade Representative President Olarn Chaipravat said Thursday that his government was taking steps to ensure that the country remains attractive to investors in the aftermath of last year's floods in the Bangkok area.

Speaking at The Nikkei's Future of Asia conference here, Olarn also discussed his country's efforts to move from labor-intensive to high-technology production.

Addressing concerns that insurance payments to investors in Thailand had been delayed, Olarn said: "The insurance process is between private companies, and there is not much the Thai government can do about this. But we can help speed up the restructuring moves."

He added that improved flood defenses, additional work on disaster prevention and government guarantees on losses all meant it was still viable to invest in Thailand.

"The government is doing everything possible to make sure that investments in Thailand are fully protected," Olarn said.

On changes to the economy, he maintained that labor shortages demonstrate that Thailand needs to move its workforce toward high-skilled, technology-based production.

He said that by doing so, the ASEAN region as a whole would benefit.

"Our efforts aim to speed up the pace of integration with our Asian partners, so that labor forces -- unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled -- will be in the appropriate location."

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.