- by Pooky, this blog economics journalist
Matichon, a local mass circulated daily quoted Thai environmentalist saying they may go to protest the Japanse Embassy in Bangkok for pressuring the Thai government to quickly resolve a investment blockade against an indurtreal area of Ma Ta Phud.
- “We may go to protest the Japanese Embassy for infringement on Thailand’s sovereignty,” said the environmentalist.
- Japan Ambassador of Thailand have been vocal. In one statement he said, “If the issue is not resolved in 6 months, Japanese investors will ditch Thailand.”
That moves followed by a research by the Japanese chambers of commerce in Thailand finding that the investment blockade was Japanese business interest greatest risk in Thailand, above the fragile Thai political environment. The survey found that Japanese would likely not de-invest out of Thailand, but new investments may head to other countries instead.
- The Thai prime minister reaction had been mixed, with both concrete efforts to such for a solution, mixed with a total under-hand management of the situation-that caused a great deal of criticism.
- The latest proposal, by independent economist, is to push laws in the Thai parliament to bridge the blockade, instead of waiting for environmental regulating bodies and procedures to be established.
- Yet environmental list have threatened to go to the street in mass protest against anything that put their health and communities in danger.
About 30-40 projects, completed, near completion and on the drawing board, were blocked by the Thai courts after environmentalist took the issue to court, saying their health have suffered and the investments broke the Thai constitution clauses governing investments.
Japan is Thailand’s single largest investor-having put down significant up-stream industries and are in the process of going down-stream and further up-stream in the investments. The Thai government have been trying to get Japanese Kaisan or supporting industries to move to Thailand to support those major Japanese investments.
Last year, the Thai investment unit, came up with a package to promote investment in Thailand. The promotion succeeded in receiving a pledge of about US$10 billion, a record amount for Thailand. Much of the investment application was in renewable energy, particularly gasohol related.
While Thailand welcomes Japanese investments and most Japanese finds Thailand to be a very suitable place culturally to live and work, there had been bouts of anti-Japanese sentiment in Thailand.
Already, many mega-projects have decided to relocate away from Thailand because of the investment blockade. Thailand’s competitors such as Vietnam are posting numbers of foreign investments that are above Thailand figures, even with an economy much smaller than Thailand.