• Kyodo

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A mission from Japan’s top business lobby urged the Thai government on Friday to further streamline regulations on investments.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Takashi Imai, chairman of the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) and head of the mission, said new investment by Japanese firms will target China and called on Thailand to make further efforts to attract Japanese investment, Keidanren officials said.

Thaksin urged Japanese companies to expand their investment in his country, saying Thailand can be a base in Southeast Asia for various manufacturing sectors.

On a proposed free-trade agreement with Japan, Thaksin said it would be possible for both sides to agree to an FTA on a sector-by-sector basis.

The Thai leader also told Imai that Thailand plans to sign bilateral free-trade pacts with China and India, which will benefit Japanese investors, who are aiming to penetrate densely populated markets.

The 10-member mission will also visit Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia until next Saturday to discuss the comprehensive economic partnership that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi proposed earlier this year to link Japan and Southeast Asia.

Koizumi proposed the partnership during a tour of five members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in early January. , anticipating the creation of an FTA between China and ASEAN.

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