EEC panel seeks entry for foreigners
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) subcommittee plans to seek approval from the committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to allow foreign business travellers to enter the country subject to quarantine.
The proposal is aimed at maintaining investment momentum this year, said Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office.
The Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Japan External Trade Organisation and companies from South Korea and other countries have asked the government to permit foreign executives and technical personnel to enter Thailand to support continuous investment in the corridor, said Mr Kanit.
The proposal will be on the EEC committee's agenda at a meeting scheduled for June 22, he said.
Foreigners allowed to enter for business purposes must comply with a 14-day quarantine, but can choose the location and do some activities such as sending business documents during the quarantine period, said Mr Kanit.
To facilitate foreign business travellers, the EEC should be added to the Alternative State Quarantine scheme, he said.
The EEC, which spans three eastern provinces of Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong, is the government's flagship investment project to create S-curve growth.
Mr Kanit said Thailand's lockdown has lasted 40 days, but managed to increase confidence in the economy.
If foreign business travellers are allowed to enter the country as the lockdown is gradually eased, it would help keep investment momentum and Thailand could prepare for full investment after a vaccine, which is expected early next year, he said.
Separately, the subcommittee acknowledged an agricultural development plan in the EEC to boost farmers' incomes in the area to be on par with the industrial and service sectors.
Rayong's income per person is the highest in the country thanks to industrial sector development. The farming sector, with farmland covering 66% of the country's land and making up 13% of the total workforce, generates a mere 2% of GDP, he said.
If the agricultural development plan in the corridor is successful, farmers in the EEC will earn a higher income than they do now.
Farmers in Rayong earn an annual income of 600,000 baht and those in Chachoengsao have income of 394,000 baht a year.
The subcommittee also acknowledged water management and clean energy plans in the EEC. Even though the EEC has adequate water for this year, it needs plans for the future, said Mr Kanit. Industrial estates or communities should have their own water resources, he said.