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Thailand’s EEC Office sets THB300 billion goal

The Eastern Economic Corridor Office aims to attract THB300 billion in investment applications for the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) this year. The Deputy Prime Minister, who chaired a meeting of a subcommittee on EEC policy, stated recently that the government is ready to come up with proactive approaches to achieve this target.

The EEC Office and the Board of Investment (BoI) have been instructed to improve regulations, privileges and facilitate ease of doing business as advised by the private sector, he said.

According to Deputy Prime Minister, the government late last year organised a joint meeting with 23 Thai firms listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) to ask for cooperation to increase their investment, attract or seek joint ventures with prospective foreign companies.

The investment trend is still heading to Asia, he said. The government continues organising meetings online with companies in targeted industries.

The EEC is part of the government’s strategy to move Thailand towards a high-tech economy. The area spans a combined 30,000 rai in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao to accommodate investment in the targeted industries, focusing largely on advanced technology.

The EEC hosts 12 targeted S-curve industries: cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education development.

The government offers a raft of promotional privileges for investment projects in the EEC, including standard tax holidays for 5-10 years depending on investment categories; corporate income tax exemption for an additional two years and a 50% corporate tax reduction for three years for investment projects engaged in human resource development.

Projects located in the EECs of digital, innovation, aviation city and medical centre, and promoted industrial zones are eligible for tax holidays for an additional one year and a 50% corporate tax reduction for two years.

Apart from tax incentives, the government has also offered additional privileges such as exemption of import duties on machinery. The exemptions include import duties on raw materials for production, R&D and a 17% personal income tax deduction for high-ranking executives, experts and researchers who work for companies investing in targeted industries and headquartered in the EEC. This offer also applies to executives’ parents, spouses and children.

Investment applications in the EEC accounted for 43% of all applications filed through the BoI last year.

The EEC Office Secretary-General said investment in the 12 targeted industries in the EEC amounted to 104.20 billion baht, accounting for 50% of total investment applications.

Old or first S-curve industries (electrical appliances and electronics; automotive and parts; petrochemical and chemicals; tourism; and agriculture and food processing) contributed a combined THB92.22 billion.

The new S-curve industries (robotics; aviation and logistics; digital; biofuels and biochemicals; and medical services) accounted for a total of THB11.98 billion.

According to another article, Thailand’s high-tech Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), established in May 2018, is the cornerstone for the country’s Industry 4.0 vision to become a fully developed nation by 2035.

The total cost of developing the EEC is THB1.7 trillion (about US$60 billion), 80% of which will be funded by the private sector and 20% by the government. About one-third of that will be spent in the next four or five years on completing the high-speed train, the airport and expansion of two seaports at Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut.

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