The continuing tariff war between China and the United States has forced companies to reconsider their reliance on Chinese sourcing. Other countries throughout Southeast Asia are taking advantage of this opportunity to promote their own attractions as a base of operations.
Thailand is long experienced with foreign (in particular, U.S.) investment, but has taken further steps to attract new entrants. It now takes only 4-1/2 days to set up a business. Established sectors with long experience in Thailand include automotive and electronics.
New incentives over and above tax relief target “strategic investments toward future sectors” with additional concessions based on workforce and productivity investments. FDI is already high for Southeast Asia at $227 billion in 2018, but this expanded incentive targets mid-size projects of $32 million + for near-term implementation (plans must be submitted by 2020).
One particular sector of interest is aerospace, which particularly targets U.S. investment. Besides incentives, Thailand is promoting its central location in the region and 13 free trade agreements. The commitment goes deeper with active involvement of the government, right up to the Prime Minister, as part of a long term approach to economic growth.