Govt set to approve investment privileges for EEC industries

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2024

Eastern Economic Corridor Office hopes the draft law will come into force by the end of June and draw an immediate response from overseas investors

The Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) expects the Cabinet to approve the draft of privileges for entrepreneurs operating in special economic zones and announce it in the Royal Gazette this month in a move to attract foreign investors.

The new law would allow foreign investors to apply for promotional privileges with the EECO directly and therefore fast track investment projects in EEC areas, Chula Sukmanop, the EECO secretary-general, said on Thursday.

The EEC special economic zone covers three eastern provinces of Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao.

Chula said after the law is enacted, the EECO would set up a committee to start negotiations with potential investors, possibly as early as next month.

The committee, which he will chair, will be made up of 7 experts from the EECO and an unconfirmed number of rotating members whose expertise is in line with the industries of the negotiating partners, he added.

The EECO expects that in the initial phase, up to 30 companies will apply to receive privileges under the new law, with a combined investment value of 210 billion baht.

Under government plans, these companies will be in key industries using the EEC as their manufacturing base, namely electric vehicles and future automobiles, medicine and healthcare, digital and electronics, BCG (bio-circular-green), and future service industries, said Chula.

“More than half or about 1 billion baht of projected FDI are investments in the BCG industry, such as clean energy and EV battery recycling, which aligns with the global trend of the green economy,” he said. “This will also support other industries that use high amounts of energy, such as digital services and data centres.”

The EECO has set a goal of attracting at least 100 billion baht of foreign direct investment (FDI) annually in the next five years or until 2028.

"The EEC continues to be a project and area of great interest to foreign investors. We have been approached by several overseas investors who made contact either directly or through embassies or financial institutions,” the EECO secretary-general added.