BANGKOK (AFP): Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai was today due to open the two-week Board of Investment Fair 2000, designed to convince the world that the Thai economy has turned the corner and to lure foreign investors to bolster the recovery. The government is touting the fair, which opens to the public tomorrow and is expected to draw between three million and five million visitors, as the climax of its bid to erase the country’s reputation as the birthplace of the Asian crisis. Exhibiting their wares will be 800 firms, including subsidiaries of Siemens, Pepsi-Cola and Honda. Chief executives from 72 leading companies will meet at the fair to discuss Thailand’s economic potential. A major conference and exhibition center near Bangkok’s international airport has been dedicated to the fair, which will also include education and employment seminars. With the economy resurgent after double-digit economic contraction in 1998, the government is using the fair to attract foreign funds vital to sustaining Thailand’s rebound. Despite the recovery, investment needs a boost. Official figures show that in 1999 the government approved investment projects worth only 156 billion baht, radically down from 287 billion in 1998.
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