EEC draft set to be put before cabinet

EEC draft set to be put before cabinet

Gantry cranes operate at the container terminal for the Laem Chabang Industrial Estate in Chon Buri. It is one of three eastern provinces forming the Eastern Economic Corridor, which is slated for high-tech investment. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD
Gantry cranes operate at the container terminal for the Laem Chabang Industrial Estate in Chon Buri. It is one of three eastern provinces forming the Eastern Economic Corridor, which is slated for high-tech investment. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

The draft of the law governing the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is expected to be submitted for cabinet approval next month.

Industry permanent secretary Somchai Hanhiran said the committee spearheading the promotion of the EEC would conclude the draft next week.

The Industry Ministry estimated that the EEC may attract up to 550 billion baht in investment to the eastern region over the next five years following its launch this year.

"The EEC is designed to be a major mechanism to help accelerate investment in the eastern region, tying into the Thailand 4.0 project to help boost the economy," Mr Somchai said.

The EEC spans the three eastern provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao. It has been designated for development as a high-tech industry cluster, with an eye towards becoming Asean's leading economic zone for industrial, infrastructure and urban development.

The cabinet approved in principle a minimum of 300 billion baht in state funds for the project, with the first phase focusing on Map Ta Phut, Rayong and Laem Chabang in Chon Buri.

The EEC project is meant to accommodate the 10 targeted industries being promoted as clusters by the government.

Those industries are next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.

During the first five months of this year, targeted industries pushing 280 projects applied for support from the Board of Investment totalling 91.8 billion baht.

Mr Somchai said investment value during the first phase of the EEC would come from major industrial sectors such as petrochemicals, auto and parts, food processing and digital and robotics.

With rising demand for robotics and electronic systems in factories, the Industry Ministry is also working closely with the Labour Ministry to draft a master plan to deal with falling demand for human labour, helping those who are adversely affected by automation.

Meanwhile, the national logistics management and development committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday ordered related agencies to carry out land development plans coinciding with infrastructure projects nationwide to help generate more income.

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