EEC gets 400,000 rai for development
As much as 400,000 rai will be designated for industrial areas within the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
Monton Sudprasert, director-general of the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Department, said a town planning draft for the EEC was approved by the EEC Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last week. The draft calls for the industrial areas to be expanded by 122,931 rai from 286,492 rai.
The new EEC town plan covers the three eastern provinces of Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong, which together span 8.3 million rai. The three have 11% of plots designated as urban or city areas, a total of 913,000 rai, with 3.4% for industrial (283,561 rai), 68% for farmland (5.65 million rai), 18% for forest conservation (1.49 million rai), and the rest for other purposes.
Under the draft EEC town plan, city areas will make up 16% of the total land (1.33 million rai), up by five percentage points, with industrial areas increasing to 4.9% (406,492 rai). Farmland drops five percentage points to 63% or 5.23 million rai, while forest conservation areas have been reduced to 10% (830,000 rai).
The additional industrial area will be allocated largely to special investment promotional zones, 12 targeted industries, large infrastructure (including Map Ta Phut and Laem Chabang seaports), new city and commercial areas, and the logistics centre.
Mr Monton said that after the EEC Policy Committee's approval the draft will go to the cabinet for approval, possibly in April.
"Additional land set aside for industry is likely to be large enough to accommodate industrial development until 2037," he said.
Mr Monton said his agency still needs to design new city and lodging areas because the population in the areas is projected to double to 6.29 million by 2037.
Tourist numbers are expected to increase 10% to 51.3 million by 2037.
Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said the new EEC town plan will make investors confident that there will be sufficient space for industrial development.
He said the government still needs to work harder to attract foreign investors to invest in new S-curve industries in the EEC, citing the Board of Investment's applications for such industries representing just 7.78 billion baht out of the total 902 billion baht in approved applications last year.
The new S-curve industries include robotics, aviation, bioeconomy, medical devices and digital economy.
In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak is scheduled to lead his economic team to visit Osaka and Kyoto from Jan 30 to Feb 2, with an aim to lure Japanese investors in automobiles, electronics, medical devices and food.
In the government's first roadshow this year, Mr Somkid will give a keynote speech at a seminar called "Thailand: Advancing Asean-Japan Partnership" scheduled for Jan 31 in Osaka, with an estimated 500 participants.
Kobsak Pootrakool, the Prime Minister's Office minister, will give a speech on "Enhancing Thailand's Business Ecosystem", while Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj will speak about "Driving Thailand's Competitiveness through Digital Development".
Mr Somkid is also scheduled to visit Wakayama prefecture in the Kansai region to study tourism management and processed farm products and Kyoto to study elderly care management and meet executives of leading Japanese companies such as Yamashina Seiki, a marine machinery supplier, and Omron Corporation, an electronics firm.
Mr Kobsak recently met Hiroki Mitsumata, president of the Japan External Trade Organization, to provide an update to the schedules of the government's roadshows to Osaka and Kyoto, as well as meetings with Japanese companies there.
Mr Kobsak said the government aims to draw Japanese investment not only in automobiles, electronics, food and medical devices, but also lodging services for the elderly in Thailand.