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Ford is Threatening to Relocate

The Bangkok Post reports that Ford is threatening to relocate their proposed project

There was a very worrying article in the Bangkok Post on February 3rd suggesting that Ford would shift new investment to other countries unless the Thai government resolved issues at Map Ta Phut.

Initially the problems were limited to the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate where the Administrative Court issued an injunction to suspend 76 industrial projects valued at 400 billion baht because environmentalists had argued that the approved permits violated the constitution.

This mainly affected the Petrochemical sector.

The article suggested that Ford is scheduled to sign a contract with Hemeraj Land and Development for land on which to build a 20 billion baht car plant but if talks including environmental issues are not finalized by the middle of this month then the company may change its investment location.  The location is in Hemeraj’s Eastern Seaboard Estates not Map Ta Phut.

The fall out from Map Ta Phut has now spread beyond the petrochemical sector.

Attracting car manufacturers to Thailand has been a great success story but past this success is now being threatened by uncertainty over the permit process.

There is no argument about the benefit of good environmental controls.  No country wants to be the base of dirty and dangerous industries that are not acceptable elsewhere.

What is needed is a clear and predictable permit process where manufacturers know if they follow the rules they will get the necessary permits.  Certainty is required to continue to attract investors in manufacturing plant not a set of moving goal posts.

Aliwassa has been the Managing Director οf CBRE Thailand for a number of years. As a Thai national, Aliwassa is extremely knowledgeable about the sale of property in Thailand, specifically large scale high value condominium developments largely in Bangkok.

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