Thailand: EEC accelerates promotion push to attract private investments

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office is speeding up efforts to encourage companies to join the government in transforming the economic zone into Thailand’s high-tech industrial hub.

Co-investment between businesses and the government is key to the goal, said Kanit Sangsubhan, special advisor for the EEC’s strategic planning.

Authorities will allocate 5% of the state budget each year to support new investment projects, he said.

“We will push ahead with projects to invest in targeted industries and want companies to play an essential part in driving investments,” said Mr Kanit.

The EEC, which covers parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao provinces, is expected to host 12 targeted S-curve industries, including electric vehicles (EVs), smart electronics, and affluent, medical and wellness tourism.

The government already announced plans to support the EV industry by granting a package of incentives, including tax cuts and subsidies, to promote EV consumption and production between 2022-2023.

The EEC Office is promoting investments in EV projects, including battery manufacturing, in the economic zone. This year it aims to build more than 300 EV charging facilities within the zone, part of efforts to develop EV infrastructure for the country.

Authorities and investors have spent more than 655 billion baht on developing infrastructure in the EEC under public-private partnerships.

Most of the budget, or 417 billion baht, came from the private sector, while the remaining 239 billion was provided by the government.

Mr Kanit expects the EEC to play a key role in driving the Thai economy, which is projected to post growth of 3.2% this year and 3.6% in 2023.

“We believe the EEC will help the government attain its goal of pulling Thailand out of the middle-income trap,” he said.

Second-phase development at the EEC is expected to contribute 4.5-5% of economic value to Thai GDP, according to Mr Kanit.