11 July 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he has invited Japan’s leading companies to join in the development of Thailand’s digital economy and the auto industry.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday also agreed with Srettha to consider launching a dialogue on the next-generation auto industry as part of their efforts to address energy and climate change issues.

Kyodo News reported that Kishida proposed to set up the framework at their bilateral meeting in Tokyo on the sidelines of the Japan-ASEAN special summit to mark 50 years of friendship and cooperation earlier in the day, in which decarbonization was among the agenda items.

The envisaged dialogue is aimed at discussing measures to maintain the industrial competitiveness of Thailand, a major manufacturing base for Japanese automakers, in producing and exporting next-generation cars such as electric vehicles, according to Japanese government officials.

Srettha was quoted as telling Kishida that Thailand will continue to support activities by auto-related companies from the world’s third-biggest economy in the Southeast Asian country.

In his X post, Srettha said he met with senior officials of Japan’s seven leading auto manufacturers to assure them of the Thai government’s support for the transition to electric car industry.

“Thailand wants to work with Japan in the areas of soft power which is the Thai government’s extension of the success of OTOP which was inspired by Japan’s OVOP,” Srettha said, referring to the “one tambon, one product” initiative introduced by the Thaksin government which drew inspiration from the “one village, one product” movement, a Japanese regional development programme.

Srettha said he also invited Japanese firms to join in the development of Thailand’s digital economy.

At the Japan-ASEAN summit, the leaders adopted a “joint vision statement,” pledging to establish a new initiative for the car industry in Southeast Asia and strengthen collaboration on promoting energy transition and low-carbon technologies.