The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is the international strategic plan under Thailand 4.0 policy in Chon Buri, and Chachoengsao. It is expected to carry on the success following its predecessor, the Eastern Seaboard Economic Development Plan over the past 30 years. The investment in the EEC is projected to expand by 20% from THB500 billion to THB600 billion due to the government’s incentives and additional projects related to the infrastructure. Since last year, private sector investment in EEC has valued THB250 billion among the EEC’s 10 targeted S-curve industries which include next-generation cars, smart electronics, affluent medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, robotics for industry, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemicals, digital, and medical services.
A recent meeting among top government officials finalized a concrete plan to be presented to the EEC committee in February 2018. Once approved, the government aims to proceed with five major infrastructure projects including a high-speed train connecting three airports worth THB210 billion, THB160 billion U-tapao airport, deep-sea-port projects phase 3 at Map Ta Phut and Laem Chabang, and Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO). The construction of the aforementioned projects is expected to complete ranging in years from 2021 to 2025.
To foster rapid investment growth and achieve enduring success of EEC, the government intends to draw more attention from Chinese investors as the projects will contribute to the accomplishment of China’s One Belt One Road mission. The Ministry of Industry reveals that Alibaba group has confirmed its investment in EEC following a thorough feasibility study. One of the world’s largest e-commerce retailers also concludes that EEC, with its location advantage, is the most attractive place to invest in ASEAN countries. Through its recently acquired subsidiary, Lazada, the country’s largest e-commerce group will inject its capital in an e-commerce park which consists of a one-stop facility incorporating the upstream to downstream activities including the logistics.
Moreover, the European Airbus has signed MOU with Thai Airways to invest in the aircraft maintenance & repair center. The US Boeing expressed its interest to finance a manufacturing plant supplying aviation parts and components. The company is set to establish a pilot training center to support its business among countries in the region.
The EEC projects have also attracted several leading companies for their new investment in vehicles powered by electricity. Those firms include Nissan, Ford, Toyota, and BMW. Toyota confirms that it will soon enter the entire electric vehicle industry and plans to utilize EEC as its production base.
The future of EEC is highly promising with more and more big players from various industries (especially the logistics) parading to the eastern part of Thailand considering its geographical advantage. Relevant authorities believe the investment in the EEC will likely contribute to the country’s GDP growth of 5% per annum.
- Sutheerachat, Jiramon. Money and Banking Magazine. May 2017 https://www.scbeic.com/th/detail/product/3544
- Krungthepturakij, December 15, 2017 http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/advertorial/detail/635
- Apisitniran, Lamonphet. “EEC spending forecast to reach B600bn” Bangkok Post, January 16, 2018 https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1396482/eec-spending-forecast-to-reach-b600bn
- Apisitniran, Lamonphet. “EEC to align with One Belt, One Road” Bangkok Post, January 15, 2018 https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1395938/eec-to-align-with-one-belt-one-road