This Comment analyzes the role of Thailand's Board of Investment in the Thai Government's policy of decentralizing its economy. The Board of Investment is the administrative agency authorized to promote industrial development through the use of investment incentives. In response to the decentralization policy, the Board has created new categories of investment and a new set of upgraded incentives designed to encourage industrial investment in the country's rural provinces. The potential effectiveness of the Board's role, however, is limited. Recent changes in Thailand's tax and trade policy have seriously diminished the value of the Board's fiscal incentives, the backbone of its incentive scheme. The Board must overcome significant barriers to investment in rural areas, namely inadequate infrastructure and shortages of skilled labor. Moreover, fiscal incentives have numerous drawbacks, and evidence suggests that they are limited in their ability to attract investment. Thus, the Investment Promotion Act, the controlling legislation for the Board of Investment, should be amended to replace the fiscal incentives with new types of incentives which are both attractive to investors and have greater potential to benefit Thailand's rural areas.
Michael L. Shain,
Thailand's Board of Investment: Towards a More Appropriate and Effective Rural Investment Promotion Policy,
3 Pac. Rim L & Pol'y J.
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