The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a special economic zone in Thailand, has set a new investment target of THB 500 billion (USD 13.7 billion) over the next five years. The EEC covers three eastern provinces: Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao, spanning over 13,285 square kilometres.
Thailand’s recently confirmed Commerce Minister intends to facilitate investment processes to attract more foreigners to do business in the EEC. Priorities include concluding a key 220 km high-speed railway project that connects the EEC to three key airports, namely Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, and U-tapao.
Moreover, the EEC will target investors active in high-growth industries, such as electric vehicles, medical services, biotechnology infrastructure, and digital industries such as microchips and electronics.
The EEC already plays a vital role in Thailand’s eastern seaboard, and has seen success for industries like petrochemical, automobile, and electronic industries.
To attract overseas investors, the EEC offers several of incentives, ranging from a flat personal income tax rate of 17%, to corporate income tax exemption for up to 15 years, custom duty exemptions for the import of raw materials, easier process for hiring foreign employees, the right to lease land for up to 50 years for residential development, and up to 99 years for commercial and industrial areas.
A key goal of the EEC is to improve existing connectivity. The government of Thailand wants to create sea routes from the eastern provinces of Thailand to Myanmar’s ongoing Dawei deep-sea port project, Cambodia’s Sihanoukville port, and Vietnam’s Vung Tau port. The government is also expanding the Laem Chabang seaport, which already ranks as the largest in Thailand, with the goal of transforming it into a regional marine hub.
(Source: ASEAN Briefing)