State certain EEC will reach investment goal
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State certain EEC will reach investment goal

B300bn target set to help uplift economy

State certain EEC will reach investment goal
A signboard promotes U-Tapao airport, a key mega-project within the EEC. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Despite the escalating number of Covid-19 infections and fragile economic prospects, the government remains confident that the actual investment value in the government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme will reach 300 billion baht by this year or next as expected.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general to the EEC Office, said his office is scheduled to propose on Friday to the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee's meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha the introduction of additional investment promotion zones to help boost investment.

The EEC is part of the government's strategy to move Thailand towards a high-tech economy.

The area spans a combined 30,000 rai of land in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao to accommodate investments in targeted industries, focusing largely on advanced technology.

The EEC will host 12 target S-curve industries -- cars, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics for industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemicals, digital, medical services, defence and education development.

The government is offering a raft of privileges for investments in the EEC, including standard tax holidays for five to 10 years depending on investment categories, corporate income tax exemption for an additional two years, and a 50% corporate tax reduction for three years for investment projects related to human resource development.

The EEC attracted investment applications for 117 projects in the first quarter with a combined value of 64.4 billion baht, 39% higher than the total value of 117 projects filed in the same period of 2020.

Of the total 30,000 rai of land designated for the EEC, 15,000 rai has already been used and developed, according to Mr Kanit.

Mr Kanit said actual investment from four key infrastructure projects worth a combined 620 billion baht is estimated at 10 billion baht this year.

The four infrastructure projects are a high-speed rail linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports; renovation of the U-Tapao airport; and the development of Map Ta Put industrial port phase 3 and Laem Chabang port phase 3.

According to Mr Kanit, escalating Covid-19 infections are expected to trim the country's economic growth to only 1% this year from 4% projected earlier in the year by the government.

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