In 1967, Dr. Khoman, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, invited his counterparts from Malaysia,Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore to Bang Saen, Thailand. The result of this meeting led to the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the signing of the ‘Bangkok Declaration’ on 8 August 1967.
Fifty years later, ten ASEAN member countries continue to work together to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest.
At the crossroads of ASEAN and other markets in Asia such as China and India, Thailand’s strategic, central location positions the country as a gateway to the region. The country’s burgeoning consumer population today stands at sixty nine million and the country is strengthening its role as an economic powerhouse in Asia.
‘Thailand is playing a key role in China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative as we are in strategic geographic position to link key Asian economies’, says Phairush Burapachaisri, Vice Chairman the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade of Thailand. ‘We are investing One Trillion BHT in investment projects including a third international airport, highways to better connect the country, deep-sea ports and ‘smart-cities’. Thailand is actively ensuring that the ease of doing business here is improved and this will directly benefit foreign investors. Thailand will become a global connector as the country continues to play a leading role in ASEAN and the world’.
Thailand’s world-class infrastructure includes highways, city-wide mass transit systems, international airports, deep-sea ports and international airports, all of which make Thailand attractive to investors.
Additional benefits for investors looking at Thailand include: Free corporate income tax for fifteen years, fifty per cent reduction on corporate income tax (CIT) for five years after the regular CIT exemption period has ended, allowing ownership of land and the long-term leasing of royal properties for fifty years or longer.
Personal income tax has also been reduced to fifteen per cent for all personnel and government regulated one-stop service stations have been established at all major facilities, airports and seaports.
The government of Thailand is also developing the ‘Eastern Economic Corridor’. This initiative will include a high-speed train connecting three major airports: Suvarnaphumi, Don Muang, and U-tapao(which is being turned into the country’s third international airport). A double-track railway will connectthe three airports andthree major seaports, two of which: Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut,are being expended. In addition, the government is extending the motorway to Rayong, south east of Bangkok, and is creating five new smart-cities while promoting‘Digital Park Thailand’.
The country’s technology, banking, automotive, alternative energy, food and beverage, electronics and logisticsindustriesare making Thailand an increasingly attractive investment destination for Southeast Asian countries; including Singapore.
Thailand and Singaporehave developed a strong partnership. Pre-dating the establishment of ASEAN, formal diplomatic relations between Singapore and Thailand were established on 20 September 1965 with the Singaporean Embassy established in Bangkok the following year.
Indeed, total Singapore investments in Thailand amount to 22.6 billion THB worth of projects and last year bilateral trade between Singapore and Thailand reached 27.4 billion SGD.
‘Singapore and Thailand have a very close bilateral relationship based on vibrant economic ties and cultural understanding’, concludesRobin Loh, President of the Singapore Club of Thailand (SCOT). ‘In addition to the tourism industry, two-way trade continues to increase and we are looking forward to strengthening the business partnerships which our two countries have worked hard to develop. SCOT is committed to promoting ties between Thailand and Singapore and we look forward to further exchanges in 2018 and beyond’.