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EEC seeks investment of B500bn

The new government aims to attract 500 billion baht in real investments to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) within five years.

Speaking after the first meeting of the EEC Policy Committee under the new government, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai said the administration wants to urgently address long-standing obstacles within 99 days to attract global investment in various industries within the EEC.

The areas of focus include medical services, digital, electric vehicles, biotechnology, circular economy and green economy. These efforts align with the government’s core policy of promoting sustainable economic development and enhancing the country’s international competitiveness, Mr Phumtham said.

“The committee instructed the EEC Office to develop a plan to speed up efforts to deal with pending issues carried over from the previous government, such as renegotiating contracts related to the high-speed rail project linking three airports: Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao. The goal is to ensure these projects can move forward,” he said.

“The committee also assigned the office to expedite receiving actual investments from parties that were already granted investment promotion certificates.”

The high-speed rail project linking the three airports, valued at 282 billion baht, is a key infrastructure effort in the EEC. The government aims to conclude the contract renegotiation for the 220-kilometre railway construction by January next year.

“The EEC Office is tasked with ensuring the contracts are cleared within 99 days, with the government expecting construction to proceed according to plans before its term ends,” said Mr Phumtham.

“Even though this government is a coalition, all political parties agree these projects are significant.”

Chula Sukmanop, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said the office is preparing for a roadshow in the US next month to encourage investment in Thailand.

The office also aims to expedite actual investments in the zone, with a target of 100 billion baht next year and 500 billion within five years, he said.

The majority of these investments will be in the modern automotive industry, such as electric cars, electric motorcycles and hydrogen-powered cars, and digital industries such as electronics, chips and electric helicopters, said Mr Chula.

Japan indicated interest in investment in green industries, energy and recycled batteries, while the EU is considering the medical industry, he said.

To attract foreign investment, Mr Chula said the EEC offers an incentive package that includes a corporate income tax exemption for up to 15 years, customs duty exemptions for imported raw materials and machinery, work visas for foreign employees, a flat personal income tax rate of 17%, and the ability to purchase condominiums and own land in industrial estates, or lease for 50 years, renewable for an additional 49 years.

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