The cabinet on Tuesday approved the allocation of 1,032 rai of land in the Eastern Airport City (EECa) project to create a free-trade zone within the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), in a move to attract investors and businesspeople.
Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the free-trade zone at Airport City will not be restricted by numerous laws and regulations, with waivers on customs tariffs and other import measures on offer.
Airport City is located in the 6,500-rai economic zone for aviation, one of the EEC’s seven zones approved by the cabinet in March this year, which were created to strengthen Thailand’s investment competitiveness.
There would be activity and recreation areas in the planned airport city to support services around the clock - such as five-star hotels, shopping malls, duty-free shops, Michelin-star restaurants, exhibition and convention halls, and a range of entertainment, Gen Prayut said.
This 24-hour entertainment complex would attract spending from professional niche groups, such as stopover travellers and entrepreneurs, and the inhabitants of airport city.
“There must be special conditions on flexibility to support the enormous economic expansion, such as benefits, value added tax, comprehensive services to accommodate arrivals, visa and work permit applications, personal income tax payments and relaxation of legal restrictions involving foreigners working in Thailand in occupations where there are shortages or lack of skills.
"Hopefully, the EEC will be an important area to generate income for the country in the future. It will be a big leap forward in no more than 10 years, bringing the country a reputation in agriculture, modern industry, transportation, research innovation and the BCG (Bio-Circular-Green Economic) model, which is sustainable development that is environmentally friendly for both Thailand and the world,’’ the prime minister said.
According to deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek, the government has also offered tax perks to 24-hour entertainment providers and alcohol and cigarette distributors at Airport City, allowing them to be exempt from corporate income tax for a maximum of 15 years. The dividends available from their ventures will also be exempt from corporate income tax.
Foreign workers will be allowed to work in certain businesses at Airport City, she said, adding that travellers and tourists will enjoy excise tax exemption on consumer products bought there during its first 10 years.
Other tax perks, such as value-added tax (VAT) waivers on tourist purchases of up to 20,000 baht per person per year at Airport City in the first 10 years, are pending the government’s consideration.