BANGKOK, Aug. 29 (Xinhua)-- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Thursday that Thailand, with its continued efforts in connectivity building, is set to become a hub for channeling foreign investment in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Yingluck called on the Chinese investors to increase investment in Thailand and consider the kingdom, which sits"at the strategic center"of ASEAN, as their partner to conduct business in the region.
Expressing admiration for China's economic growth and economic policies, Yingluck said as a strategic partner, Thailand is willing to work with China to increase bilateral trade and investment in a wide range of areas.
According to the prime minister, Thailand will serve as a good base for foreign investment in the Southeast Asia region because it has planned to upgrade its trans-border transportation network in order to build better connection with other countries in the region.
She is referring to the 2.2-trillion-baht (68.4 billion U.S. dollars) infrastructure scheme, which is aimed to boost both domestic and regional connectivity by linking Thailand with Laos, China, Singapore and Malaysia through a high-speed rail system.
Chinese investment in Thailand has been growing at a fast pace over recent years. Notably, opportunities are now substantial in the infrastructure sector, said Yingluck. "Thailand will be spending about 66 billion U.S. dollars in infrastructure. Especially, we will need the technology that China has, like high speed train,"said the prime minister. "And we know that the high-speed railway connecting Thailand and China will run from Thailand through Laos to China. So it will be an important part of Chinese investment in Thailand,"she added.
The prime minister also encouraged Chinese investors to seize the ample business opportunities in the country's 350-billion-baht (10.88 billion U.S. dollars) water-management project and the food processing industry.
She noted that Thailand has implemented a series of policies to create favorable business environment for foreign investors. "We have reduced the corporate tax from 30 percent down to 20 percent, among other promotions to attract investors, and we are also trying to improve in the ease of doing business in Thailand," she said.