EEC Office ordered to study province expansion
The Industry Ministry has ordered the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office to conduct a feasibility study for expanding the EEC into new provinces to further drive investment demand in the industrial sector.
The plan is to expand into surrounding provinces. The corridor spans 110,168 rai and covers 30 existing and new industrial zones in Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong.
Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said both local and foreign investors are very interested in the EEC's S-curve policy.
This policy consists of 11 targeted industries in advanced technological development. The existing industries are cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; and food.
The new S-curve sectors are robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; and defence.
"The expansion of industrial zones outside the three provinces can serve more investment flows entering this corridor in the near future," Mr Uttama said after he chaired the administration committee for development of the EEC yesterday.
Kanit Sangsubhan, the EEC Office's secretary-general, said all 11 targeted industries will beef up the country's GDP, with the government aiming to attract investment value of 500 billion baht by 2023.
"The government expects both existing and new S-curve industries to represent half of the total value by 2023," said Mr Kanit.
"The global trend is moving to the S-curve industries and Thailand must move with the trend as well."
The EEC Office has been ordered to cement 100 billion baht in investment applications per year for the S-curve industries.
Mr Kanit added the government expects the flagship EEC will increase the country's GDP by another 2% from the fundamental GDP at 3% per year.
GDP will have the 5% growth annually once the EEC is fully implemented.
"The five megaprojects and the S-curve industries are set to drive the economy," said Mr Kanit.
The meeting's conclusion yesterday will be propose to the EEC Board, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Nov 9.
Narit Therdsteerasukdi, deputy secretary-general of the Board of Investment (BoI), said investment applications this year will reach 720 billion baht, surpassing 600 billion in 2017.
Of the total applications, 300 billion baht is targeted from the EEC this year.
The BoI reported the investment applications for the corridor stood at 230 billion baht from January to September.
"The 11 targeted industries made up 80% of applications," Mr Narit said.
The BoI will have a board meeting, chaired by Gen Prayut on Nov 19 and the promotional incentives of Smart City project will be proposed to this meeting.