Government preps incentives for 4 new economic corridors

Government preps incentives for 4 new economic corridors

The government looks set to settle investment incentives for four new economic corridors in four regions next month, a move aimed at increasing investment in the areas.

According to Anak Meemongkol, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the council and the Board of Investment are working on incentives to lure investors to the four economic corridors, which are to resemble the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The EEC is part of the government's strategy to move Thailand towards a high-tech economy.

The EEC covers a combined 30,000 rai in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao to accommodate investment in targeted industries, focusing largely on advanced technology.

The EEC hosts 12 targeted S-curve industries: cars, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics for industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemicals, digital, medical services, defence and education development.

The government is offering a raft of privileges for investment in the EEC, including standard tax holidays for 5-10 years depending on the investment category, corporate income tax exemption for an additional two years, and a 50% corporate tax reduction for three years for investment projects related to human resources development.

According to Mr Anak, the investment categories in these four economic corridors should differ from those in the 10 existing special economic zones because each corridor will be tasked with promoting some specific industries.

Details on the new incentives and investment categories are slated for submission to the National Committee for the Development of Special Economic Zones, chaired by the prime minister, which is scheduled to meet in May.

The four new economic corridors are the Southern Economic Corridor, the Northeastern Economic Corridor (NEEC), the Northern Economic Corridor (NEC) and the Western Economic Corridor (WEC).

The southern corridor aims to link the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and countries along the Indian Ocean rim such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The development covers the provinces of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon and Ranong. The government wants to promote a bio-economy based on palm oil in this corridor.

The NEEC covers the provinces of Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai.

The corridor is expected to manufacture products to supply the EEC and China, with an emphasis on bio-economy development because of the area's plentiful raw materials such as rice, tapioca and sugar cane.

The NEC is designated to cover four northern provinces: Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Chiang Rai.

The cabinet in early 2020 approved the NEC development plan in principle, with the aim of boosting income for people in the region, promoting community and cultural tourism as well as improving products in the region for export.

The WEC covers Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Samut Sakhon and Prachuap Khiri Khan, with the government planning to develop it as a link with the EEC and Dawei port in Myanmar.

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