Under the Thai government’s economic agenda, Rayong, and two other neighboring provinces, Chonburi and Chachoengsao will form the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Stretching a total area of 13,000 square kilometers, it is expected that the EEC will be an arterial node for trade, investment, and regional transportation, besides also serving as a strategic gateway to this region. The EEC is slated to attract approximately USD 46 billion in investments which is projected to push Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth by five percent annually by 2020.
To ensure the success of the EEC, Bangkok is relying heavily on foreign direct investments, in particular those from China, and public-private partnerships, and it is relaxing certain laws and regulations to facilitate and encourage foreign investors looking to invest in the EEC’s initiatives. In November, the Deputy Prime Minister led government officials and 65 Thai private companies to Shanghai to promote the EEC.
In January 2019 it was revealed that the total amount of investment promotion application in 2018 exceeded the original target by 25%. Investment applications in the EEC accounted for more than THB 680 billion (USD 21 billion). Largest-scale investment projects have been in the areas of petrochemical and electrical vehicle (EV) production. In 2018, the BOI received 1,626 investment applications projects with a total value of THB 902 billion (USD 28 billion). Both the application number and the investment value were higher than those in 2017, by 3% and 43%, respectively.
(Sources: Board of Investment of Thailand; China Dialogue; The ASEAN Post)