Thailand and Vietnam fight to attract manufacturers
Thailand is discussing a raft of incentives to tempt manufacturers away from China, which is caught up in a damaging trade war with the US. Vietnam is also keen to persuade more companies to move production from China.
The Thai government is looking into possible tax breaks, easing regulations and fast-tracking licenses and permits to take advantage of the US-China trade tensions. Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, but growth has slowed in recent years.
Another sweetener it is looking at are speedier approvals for foreign investors, so factories can be built faster than competitor countries, and products made and sold quickly. Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) said it is aiming to attract 100 companies, mostly Chinese ones.
Thailand also has plans to introduce incentives for companies that train Thai workers, or that offer learn-on-the-job opportunities, such as Google’s planned academy.
When it comes down to who has the cheapest workforce, one thing on Vietnam’s side is its lower minimum wage level, which is more than half that of Thailand’s. Thailand’s answer is that its workforce is more skilled.