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Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)

Thailand has initiated the ‘Thailand 4.0’ policy to drive the country away from the middle income trap and transform its economy to be more innovation driven. The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) covering areas in Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong in the eastern coast of Thailand is a flagship project to realize this mission. It comprises of several zones with different focus ranging from aviation industry to digital technology. All of them are set to be new engines of growth of Thailand.


Eastern Aviation Specialised Zone (Eastern Airport City)

As part of the EEC, the Government has initiated the development of the U-Tapao and Eastern Airport City projectin Rayong province, which includes the construction of U-Tapao Airport’s third passenger terminal and commercial gateway, the Phase II development of air cargo facilities, aviation training center and the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities, as well as the establishment of a free trade zone. In accordance with the Government’s intention to increase the role of the private sector in public initiatives, the project will be developed through public-private partnership (PPP).

The ultimate objective is to establish additional main international airport in Thailand and an important aviation hub in the region that shall pave the way for the establishment of a successful Special Economic Zone within the EEC framework. Earlier this year, Thai Airways International, Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Rolls Royce have already agreed to cooperate in setting up maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities in the EEC.

The Government will also construct a high speed railway to link Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao International Airports.


The Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation: EECi

Given that innovation capability is an essential component of Thailand 4.0 economic model and the EEC, the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation or EECi was inaugurated by the Government as an “innovation hub” to support continuous growth of frontier industries in six focused areas: modern agriculture and biotechnology; biofuels and bio-chemicals; high performance battery and modern transports; automation, robotics, and smart electronics; satellite and aviation; and medical devices and supplies.

Located in Rayong province, the project consists of three clusters—Biopolis, Aripolis (Automation, Robotics and Intelligent Systems) and Space Innopolis that would serve as important research facilities and quintessential infrastructure for promoting innovation in each field. To enhance productiveness of the three clusters, most projects undertaken within the EECi will be done in coordination with research institutes, universities, private firms, government agencies, and local communities in Thailand and around the world. The Government forecasts that the EECi will be an ideal structure for both researchers and innovators to work collaboratively together in order to create quality innovations on par with, or even above international standard.

  


Digital Park Thailand: EECd

The Digital Park of Thailand or EECd is an economic cluster with emphasis on digital business, startups, world-class digital production, and the promotion of digital innovation. The Government plans to provide the digital park with state-of-the-art infrastructure, ranging from ultra-high speed broadband network, submarine cable station, and data center to ground satellite station. When complete, the park will be among the top destinations for global players in high-tech digital industry, and an important data hub for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

 To stimulate interest among international investors, the Government will introduce various incentive packages, including both tax and non-tax measures like RDI regulatory exemption and privileges for investors and technology specialists. Eventually, the project will be a showcase for Thailand’s digital proficiencies and pioneer testbeds for the future adoptions of numerous digital technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Alibaba, a leading e-commerce company from China is investing 320 million USD in the EEC to facilitate trading and purchasing transaction between Thai producers and Chinese consumers, especially for agricultural goods like durian

  


Smart Park

As per the EEC development plan, the Government plans to establish a smart park as an extension of the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong province. The smart park is intended to serve as a focal point for the promotion of and further investment in four New S-Curve industry groups—Robotics, Aerospace and Logistics, Digital, and Medical Hub—that have been selected by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) based on their suitability with the current operation of the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.

Up to 500 billion baht is estimated to be used within the first five years of the project, and significantly more investments could be expected to take place as the Government is looking to upgrade necessary infrastructure in the area such as railways, ports, roads and additional industrial estates. The projected result of the establishment of the smart park is the promotion of the eastern seaboard of Thailand as one of the most vital hubs for regional innovation-intensive production, trade, import and export flows, investment and logistics.

 

Sources: EEC Website and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand documents

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