EEC committee pushing four new special zones
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EEC committee pushing four new special zones

Spanning two existing provinces on 3,063 rai

Thammasat University, WHA Corporation and Toyota Motor Thailand are being promoted for new special economic zones worth a combined 42 billion baht next January, says the ad hoc committee for developmental administration of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, who chaired the ad hoc panel yesterday, said the three organisations have facilities in two of the corridor's provinces.

Thammasat University's Pattaya campus in Chon Buri will be the special zone for education, as the university will invest and expand all facilities to produce graduates for the corridor and construct a new medical centre for locals and expats.

The university will spend 8 billion baht on 566 rai of the campus in 2019.

WHA Corporation will be granted 232 rai in Bang Pakong district, Chachoengsao province for an e-commerce special zone, with an investment of 1.3 billion baht in robotics, automation, logistics and a digital centre.

Japan's Toyota will enjoy two special economic zones for the Ban Pho and Gateway plants in Chachoengsao, where there are manufacturing facilities for pickups and passenger cars. The car maker has a 21-billion-baht project for hybrid electric vehicles under way.

"The EEC Policy Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, will acknowledge and approve the proposal on Jan 23," Mr Uttama said, adding that the four zones total 3,063 rai, of which 2,420 rai is for the investment area.

"The ad hoc committee considers these four zones to be eligible for the government's S-curve policy," he said.

The four special economic zones will enjoy a 50% reduction in corporate income tax for five years.

Under the S-curve policy, there are 12 targeted industries: new-generation automobiles; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; defence; and education.

Mr Uttama said the ad hoc committee plans for new megaprojects to serve the expansion for the EEC of Innovation (EECI) after four companies showed their intentions to join the scheme: PTT Exploration and Production Plc, PTT Global Chemical Plc, Bangkok Industrial Gas Co and BioLASCO Co.

In 2017, the EEC Policy Committee approved the EECI scheme for PTT Plc to invest 10 billion baht in the Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology in Wang Chan district, Rayong province on 3,140 rai.

"The EECI is expected to gain 33 billion baht from the private sector, and the government is calling for companies to join a public-private partnership forum and spend 110 billion baht in the near future," Mr Uttama said. "The EECI will contribute 217 billion baht to the economy over the next 20 years."

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said it will propose the EEC Policy Committee to acknowledge and approve the EEC development fund, worth 1 billion baht. The fund will support locals in the corridor's provinces.

"The office has 100 million baht, while 900 million will be called for the government to start the fund," Mr Kanit said. "In the future, the fund will generate revenue from recurring income, without government support."

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