Thailand’s plan to let foreigners buy land is junked

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Thailand's plan to let foreigners buy land is junked

Thailand is reversing a program that would have permitted affluent foreigners to acquire a limited amount of land, a government official said on Tuesday (Nov 8), following a popular uproar against the plan.

Foreigners are limited to 0.16 ha of land provided they invest a minimum of 40 million baht (US$1.07 million) in securities or bonds for a minimum of three years under a government initiative aimed at luring foreign investment.

Critics have asserted that the investment amount was insufficient and that the idea could push up real estate prices, displacing local ownership.

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Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesperson, said at a press conference, “The interior ministry has withdrawn the plan… in order to hear the opinions of all parties so that it is all-encompassing.”

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda referred to the subject as “a delicate problem” and stated that a study was required to examine the pros and cons.

Thailand has embarked on a campaign to attract foreign investment in an effort to stimulate the economy, utilizing long-term visa programs and tax benefits for “high potential” foreigners, wealthy retirees, and talented professionals.

The second-largest economy in Southeast Asia is projected to increase 3.3% this year and has been one of Asia’s most attractive locations for western expats, businessmen, and retirees for decades.

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