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Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto announced a package of measures Oct. 9 to help stabilize Thailand’s economy, including a short-term trade insurance worth $1 billion, at his meeting with his Thai counterpart, Chavalit Yongchaiyuth, Foreign Ministry officials said.Japan will extend the $1 billion in trade insurance over the next two years. It will cover Japanese firms’ loans to their joint ventures in Thailand and their imports from Thailand, the ministry officials said.In a separate plan, Japan also will extend trade insurance of $7 billion to help restructure the Thai economy, Hashimoto told Chavalit, according to the ministry officials. Japan will send about 1,000 experts to Thailand over the next three years to assist Thailand’s restructuring efforts, they said.Hashimoto meanwhile asked Chavalit to modify domestic economic policies to facilitate foreign investment, the officials said. Thailand’s restriction on foreign capital, for example, should be eased. Foreign ownership in a joint venture is currently limited to 49 percent, but the restriction prevents further capital inflows, Hashimoto told Chavalit, according to the officials.Hashimoto also said that Thailand’s customs procedures should become more efficient and the system’s transparency should be increased, they said.

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