Thailand: Government pushes economic zone promotion
The government vows to move ahead with plans to promote 10 existing special economic zones (SEZs) in 10 provinces in an effort to decentralise development and growth, as well as lure investment to the provinces.
According to deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek, the government also pledges to tighten cooperation with neighbouring nations to increase trade and investment in the border areas.
“The government aims to build the SEZs to become strategic locations that help develop border regions and improve the quality of life for rural people,” she said.
“The government also intends to optimise the strategic locations of the SEZs to build sustainable growth in local economies near the borders.”
The 10 SEZs are in the provinces of Tak, Sa Kaeo, Trat, Mukdahan, Songkhla, Nong Khai, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Phanom and Narathiwat.
The prime minister has been monitoring the progress of the 10 zones, hoping the border terrain can increase competitiveness to develop a stable and sustainable economy, said Ms Rachada.
The government offers attractive terms and incentives to lure investment, develop infrastructure, upgrade human resources and promote employment in the SEZs, she said.
Ms Rachada said since 2015 the 10 SEZs have drawn investment worth a combined 37 billion baht.
Planned infrastructure development from 2021 to 2022 is 89% complete, including the construction of the Trat-Hat Lek highway and Highway 211 from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai.
In addition, infrastructure has been developed to link with the Laos-China high-speed railway.
One-stop migrant worker management centres have been established in all 10 provinces, approving the employment of 508,000 workers from neighbouring countries.
Centres providing daily recruitment services for workers from neighbouring countries have facilitated the employment of some 27,000 workers who cross the border daily.
According to Ms Rachada, private companies and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) have already rented SEZs in Sa Kaeo and Songkhla to build industrial estates, with investors renting the developed estates.
Economic zones in Trat, Nakhon Phanom and Kanchanaburi have been leased by investors, while the Tak SEZ is being designed by the IEAT and is pending an environmental impact assessment, she said.
SEZs in Mukdahan and Nong Khai are in the process of selecting developers, said Ms Rachada.