Mingkwan open to helping truck makers
Industry Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan has accepted a proposal from heavy truck manufacturers to ease their taxes to help them compete better with their counterparts in Malaysia.
Mr Mingkwan asked Industrial Economics Office and Board of Investment officials to study the proposal after meeting manufacturers last week.
Pichit Ratchawong, executive vice-president of Nissan Diesel (Thailand) Co, said all Japanese and European truck makers in Thailand proposed eliminating the 10-20% import duties on certain assembly kits.
The change would bring Thailand level with Malaysia, which offers tax privileges to give its truck industry a competitive advantage over Thailand.
According to Mr Pichit, if the government delays or takes no action, several manufacturers might review investments in Thailand or relocate to Malaysia.
If they did, he said, auto parts manufacturing worth five billion baht per year and truck body building valued at 10 billion baht would be threatened.
''We asked the minister to help accelerate the assistance, possible by the end of this year,'' said Mr Pichit.
Currently, assembly kits are imported from Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.
He also argued that zero tax on imported assembly kits would promote truck exports. Thailand's truck market is slightly larger than Malaysia's, with 14,630 trucks sold in 2007 compared to Malaysia's 13,560.