International conglomerates are expressing strong interest in investing in Thailand, which expects a $5 billion surge in investments, said Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin in interview on 25 September upon his return to Thailand from the United Nations General Assembly.
Srettha said that even though it can be a challenge to estimate the value of future foreign investments in Thailand, citing industry or technology sectors like Tesla or Google as examples, he said the initial estimate is around $5 billion or 1.7 trillion baht.
The PM expects higher investments from the financial sector due to the potential for economic growth and Thailand's attractiveness, which can entice many other companies to invest further.
He added that foreign investors are not much concerned about Thailand's return to democracy but are more focused on the ease of doing business. Thailand is well-prepared for investment and open to feedback on needed legal or regulatory improvements.
During his trip, the PM delivered five speeches in meetings with various world leaders and representatives from two international organizations. He interacted with global companies such as Tesla, Google, Microsoft, Citibank, JP Morgan, and Estee Lauder. Srettha said these companies have expressed an interest in either investing or expanding their investments in Thailand.
The Prime Minister addressed UN concerns on political stability and emphasised the global importance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by more than 190 countries. The global crisis of climate change was a key focus, alongside human rights and justice for refugees from conflict zones in neighbouring countries.
"One of my objectives in attending was to declare the standpoint that we are a democratic nation with the monarch as head of state. We are committed to pushing for greater citizen participation in governance," the Prime Minister stated.
The PM mentioned that during the upcoming APEC meeting in San Francisco, USA, he has scheduled meetings with several companies. Thai companies interested in expanding trade have also been invited. In addition to technology firms, financial institutions are important because foreign companies investing in Thailand often seek financial support.
The Prime Minister said he also met with FIFA representatives to discuss ASEAN's joint hosting of the 2032 FIFA World Cup. Thailand also seeks FIFA's support for grassroots football and youth development, with annual funding increased from $250,000 to $2 million .
Srettha also discussed the possibility of expanding the 10,000-baht digital wallet scheme beyond the current 4-kilometer radius to include districts or provinces. He mentioned that there might be reports he still has to look at as he has recently returned from an overseas mission.
Concerning the expansion to include districts or provinces, the PM acknowledged that an extension to provinces might inadvertently concentrate resources in urban areas, deviating from the initial goal of fostering growth in remote areas. He stated that the committee is assessing this issue, adding that he has no concern about this project.
The PM also dismissed the rumour about him appointing former PM Thaksin Shinawatra as an advisor, clarifying that if there were any matters to discuss, consultations could occur, similar to his consultations with senior civil servants. He cautioned against overinterpreting what he said in an interview.
"Don't interpret, just listen to what I say," he stated abruptly and left immediately afterward.