Chiang Rai to be logistics hub for GMS
Thailand will continue with its special economic zone (SEZ) plan to promote the northern city of Chiang Rai as a major logistics centre of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Industry Minister said yesterday.
"Chiang Rai is in a perfect location, which is suitable to be promoted as a logistics centre of the GMS because it is the gateway to growing economic zones in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and also the southern Chinese province of Yunnan," said Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukvanich.
Phase two of the government's SEZ plan includes other provinces that have strong potential to be promoted as business zones over the next two years. They are Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, which borders Laos, and Narathiwat, which borders Malaysia.
The SEZs, aimed at creating development of several relevant industries, are among the government's strategies to help trade and investment along the border to boost the income of villagers in remote areas.
Meanwhile, the development of SEZs in Sa Kaew, Trat and Tak — provinces that are in the first phase — is on track to be ready this year.
The overall value of Thailand's border trade stood at 924 billion baht in 2014 and is expected to reach 950 billion baht this year, said the Ministry of Commerce.
Mr Chakramon said the government hoped that the growing economy, driven by the SEZs, will help generate income for villagers as well as support the development of local industries so that they can compete with other Southeast Asian countries when the Asean Economic Community is fully implement this year.
He said the government had set up a subcommittee, to be chaired by Interior Minister Gen Anupong Phaojinda, which will follow up on the SEZ plans.
Veerapong Chaiperm, governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, said he expected the logistics centre in Chiang Rai to be operational by 2017.