THE state-run Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank) plans to set up an office in Laos this year to help investors make inroads in the neighboring country.
The bank set its sights on Laos because of the country’s high growth potential, said chairman Manas Jamveha.
The move to open Exim Bank’s first foreign office came after Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak urged the bank to pursue a more aggressive business plan to accommodate local exporters and importers and boost outward direct investment, especially in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
A number of local companies are making forays into the four countries, but Exim Bank does not have branches to support them, Somkid noted at the time.
The bank’s acting President Kematat Saicheur said the office in Laos will initially be an intelligence unit tasked with providing information to local investors. It will be upgraded to a representative office and full branch later if there is demand.
In another development, Exim Bank offered financial services to support trading with Iran, becoming the first Thai bank to do so following the UN Security Council’s removal of sanctions on Iran in January.
Somkid said earlier Thailand and Iran’s trading value was expected to jump to $3 billion.
Manas said the move is in line with government’s policy to promote exploring and penetrating new markets. Iran is a major market in the Middle East with high purchasing power and demand for Thai goods, especially farm products and foods such as rice, canned and processed fruits, and rubber. TNS