Eastern Economic Corridor ramps up plan to stimulate investment

Eastern Economic Corridor ramps up plan to stimulate investment

Authorities aim to bolster Thai GDP by pushing ahead with a plan to generate 2.2 trillion baht worth of investment in five targeted industries in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) by 2026.

Under a plan that started last year, Thais and foreigners will be encouraged to invest in medical and wellness, digital, electronics, automotive and bio-, circular and green (BCG) industries, said Chula Sukmanop, secretary-general of the EEC Office.

Declared as a national agenda item by the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration, BCG promotes technology that can add value to products while also minimising its impact on the environment.

"With these targeted industries, the EEC should help grow the Thai economy by 5% a year, or around 400 billion baht annually," said Mr Chula.

The EEC, which covers parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, is set to become the country's high-tech industrial hub.

He said officials were preparing to organise a roadshow in Italy to encourage medical and pharmaceutical investors to join the EEC zone. An investment promotion campaign will also be launched in Switzerland, targeting businesses in the electronics industry, said Mr Chula.

The government is talking with land developers to design industrial areas to facilitate new investment projects.

Authorities want to equip workers with improved skills and technological know-how to reassure investors that talented labour is available here to help them drive their businesses, he said.

The government is continuing with plans to develop transport and logistics facilities to help investors in the EEC area save on operating costs.

The authorities are building a high-speed rail system linking three airports in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Rayong, but the project faces a delay after the Charoen Pokphand Group-led consortium asked the government to revise some conditions in a construction contract because of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the project.

The 224-billion-baht rail system is expected to be completed by 2027.

"The EEC discussed the problem with the consortium and will forward its concerns to a new cabinet after the election," said Mr Chula.

The business sector wants the government to adjust infrastructure development conditions in construction contracts, facilitating adjustments if unexpected events occur.

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