The Board of Investment (BoI) is looking into more business categories for high technology as part of efforts to promote the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy.
Duangjai Asawachintachit, the BoI's secretary-general, said related agencies are busy improving existing laws and promotional polices to rev up promotion of the BCG economy to help drive growth over the next five years.
The BoI is also exploring new business categories, especially advanced technology, to promote as part of BCG economy development efforts, she said.
Ms Duangjai said the first meeting of a management committee to drive the BCG economy, chaired by the prime minister in January, approved a five-year strategic plan to promote the BCG economy from 2021-26.
The government also agreed to place the BCG economy on the national agenda to speed up development because the sectors can increase the value of farm products and the BCG economy is part of a global development trend.
The BCG economy strategic plan covers four sectors: farm and food; healthcare and medical services; energy and biochemicals; and tourism and the creative economy.
The government is focused on developing the bioeconomy as Thailand has more than 30 million people working in the farm sector, yet most of them remain in poverty, she said.
The development plan calls for the government to increase the value of farm products and generate more income for the farm sector.
According to Ms Duangjai, the BoI already offers the highest promotional privileges to BCG economy-related industries and new privileges are unlikely.
BCG economy categories are eligible for tax relief, including exemptions of corporate income tax for eight years, exemptions/reductions of import duties on machinery, reductions of import duties on raw materials, exemption of import duties on R&D materials, and a double deduction for the cost of transport, electricity and water.
Investors are also entitled to an additional 50% corporate tax reduction for five years for investment projects engaged in human resource development, and 200% deductions on R&D expenses.
Ms Duangjai said investors are eligible to enjoy more privileges if they invest in the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor.
To promote the BCG economy, the BoI in June last year approved adjusting investment privileges and adding a new agriculture category for high technology, namely plant factories, to enjoy promotional privileges.
A plant factory is a closed growing system that controls light, temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide and minerals as well as the biological environment such as disease contamination and insects from water, air and plants.
The products must be high-quality, safe and be produced in sufficient quantities to allow both domestic consumption and exports.
This new category is entitled to a corporate income tax exemption for five years.
In addition, the board improved the conditions and privileges for existing agriculture categories to promote more high technology and innovation, in line with the BCG economy goals.
Those categories include silos, cold storage rooms, logistics systems, and animal feed and products available from agricultural byproducts or scraps.
Promoted firms enjoy corporate income tax exemption for eight years, up from 3-5 years.