Thailand is looking to encourage Italian investors to set up businesses in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to help the government continue its high-tech industry development.
The move followed meetings between Thai authorities and representatives of 30 companies during a roadshow April 17-18 in Rome and Frosinone.
Companies indicated interest in infrastructure development, digital technology used to develop a smart city, electronics, logistics and renewable energy, said Chula Sukmanop, secretary-general of the EEC Office.
"The EEC Office, together with officials from the Board of Investment and government agencies, discussed investment prospects in the EEC with the companies," he said.
The EEC area, which covers parts of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, is hosting 12 targeted S-curve industries, including new-generation car production and smart electronics. The government wants to turn it into a high-tech industrial hub.
Thai officials met Italian companies including Leonardo S.p.A, which specialises in developing multi-domain operation systems used in the aerospace, defence and security sectors.
"We invited Leonardo to invest in a smart city project and an airport management system at U-tapao airport," said Mr Chula.
The government plan to develop a U-tapao aviation city in Rayong is among the key EEC infrastructure projects.
During the roadshow, EEC officials also met ABB SACE S.p.A, a company developing innovations that support Industry 4.0, which emphasises digital technology and data analysis.
They also talked with Biomedica Foscama S.p.A, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and 15 other pharmaceutical companies.
Mr Chula said more investment in high technology could pave the way for Thailand to become a pharmaceutical hub in Asean.
The EEC Office aims to generate 2.2 trillion baht in investments by 2026 to support S-curve industries under its five-year plan, which started in 2022.
Italy is among the target countries seen as having great potential for EEC investments. The country is Thailand's fourth-largest trading partner in Europe. Germany is ranked first, followed by Switzerland and the Netherlands.