EEC Office banking on Japanese investors
Focus to be on high tech and BCG model
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office is keen to draw Japanese investment in electric vehicles, smart electronics, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, digital, smart farms, the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic model and smart cities over the next decade.
According to Petch Chinabutr, deputy secretary-general of the office, the strategy is based on a memorandum of intent on collaboration on green industry and advanced technological development signed by the EEC Office and the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) on Jan 13 this year during a visit to Thailand by the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda.
The memorandum aims to encourage Japanese companies operating in Thailand to further invest in the EEC, especially in advanced technology and R&D and strengthen sector-specific outlays in targeted industries, namely health and well-being, digital, decarbonisation and logistics.
"This strategy is expected to lead to future investment and create sustainable development in Thailand, with a goal to convince Japan to use Asean as a global supply chain and ramp up their innovation investment here," said Mr Petch.
He said Japanese investors have been the main foreign investor in Thailand since the establishment of the Eastern Seaboard project 40 years ago and the next phase of cooperation will focus largely on four sectors in which Japan has high potential.
They are digital and smart electronics, health and well-being, decarbonisation and next-generation vehicles.
For smart electronics, the Thai Automation and Robotics Association and the Japan Factory Automation & Robots System Integrators Association have agreed to help local entrepreneurs transform their production to automated systems to reduce costs.
The EEC signed a partnership with Jetro for Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation and Burapha University to establish the EEC Automation Park in Chon Buri's Bang Saen district, where automation innovation and human resources can be developed to cater to the industrial sector.
The EEC Automation Park kicked off operation last October.
Regarding health and well-being, the EEC signed a letter of intent with Kobe Biochemical Innovation Cluster aiming to upgrade the medical industry in Thailand and promote investment in the sector between Thai and Japanese investors.
According to Mr Petch, Thai and Japanese private sectors have also expanded cooperation on hydrogen economy development in a move to prepare Thailand for future technology in the automotive and energy sectors.
The EEC teamed up with Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to develop energy cooperation in a smart park at Map Ta Phut, and signed a tie-up with Japan's Energy Ministry on the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).
The JCM is an emerging project that uses a bilateral offset crediting mechanism initiated by the Japanese government to facilitate the implementation of advanced low-carbon technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in host countries.
The EEC also signed a memorandum of understanding with Osaka on Feb 24 to implement a decarbonisation scheme with the purpose of driving the BCG economy in the EEC and carbon neutrality in Thailand.
Mr Petch said the EEC targets Japanese investment to reach 25 billion baht this year, up from 19.4 billion last year.