January - February

BoI: EEC propelling full-year application value to B750bn

The government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme is a key engine to drive full-year investment applications to hit 750 billion baht, says the Board of Investment (BoI).

Duangjai Asawachintachit, secretary-general of the BoI, said applications for the EEC provinces of Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong will account for 50-60% of the total target in 2019.

“The BoI will put on roadshows to present the EEC scheme to foreign investors,” she said at a board seminar titled “Thailand Investment Year”.

“The government is keen to attract new investment from both Thai and foreign investors to the 12 targeted industries and activity-based industries for technology and innovation.”

The government is promoting and supporting advanced technological development in 12 targeted industries – cars; 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 development.

These industries are part of the government’s S-curve policy, which is categorised in Group A, enjoying a corporate income tax exemption for 3-8 years.

“Moreover, they will get a three-year tax holiday once each company invests in R&D, advanced technology training and intellectual property acquisition, and licence fees for technology developments in Thailand,” said Mrs. Duangjai.

She said the new package for Group A includes a 50% tax reduction for three years for any of the 12 targeted industries, but each company must apply to the BoI before December 30.

Mrs. Duangjai said the government is also upbeat about five EEC megaprojects – a high-speed railway connecting three airports, the Map Ta Phut port, the Laem Chabang port, an aviation maintenance, overhaul and repair centre, and U-tapao airport.

Together the five projects are worth 694.53 billion baht.

She said the government is monitoring uncertain global economic conditions and the deepening trade war between the US and China as they can divert investment flows to Thailand.

Chaiwat Thongkumkoon, permanent secretary for transport, said the government has 111 projects on hand worth 1.91 trillion baht, endorsed by the cabinet since March 27, 2015.

The projects comprise intercity rail networks (31 projects), mass rapid transit networks (24 projects), enhancing connectivity with neighbouring countries (26 projects), increasing the water transport network (15 projects) and airport development (15 projects).

“Most plans aim to complete construction by 2022,” said Mr. Chaiwat.

He said the first phase of the high-speed railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima has already begun construction and is expected to be completed by 2022, after which the ministry will begin the second phase to Khon Kaen and Nong Khai, targeted to be completed by 2024.

“Railway development is aimed to connect northeastern provinces to Laos and China, and there is a high-speed route for Malaysia and Singapore, which means all routes can link the country to southern China,” said Mr. Chaiwit.

In addition, the ministry plans to improve and develop 38 domestic airports nationwide, focusing on Chiang Mai and Phuket as they are major destinations for the country’s tourism sector.

He said some 111 megaprojects are also located in three EEC provinces.

Under the development plan for the EEC there are 168 infrastructure projects in three provinces worth 989 billion baht.

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