According to the implementation plan released in November 2018, terms of reference (TORs) have been issued for six projects, and 'contract awarded' notices are tentatively scheduled for February 2019.
The six major Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) public-private partnership (PPP) projects are:
- U-Tapao International Airport and Eastern Aerotropolis;
- high-speed trains connecting three airports;
- development of Map Ta Phut Port Phase 3;
- development of Laem Chabang Port 3;
- U-Tapao Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre (MRO Centre); and
- innovation and digital parks.
The Eastern Special Development Zone Act 2018 (EEC Act) was published on May 14 2018. It applies in three eastern provinces: Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao (and any other area in the eastern part of Thailand to be prescribed in the Royal Decree to be announced, as special development zones), and prescribes a number of incentives for private investment. It complements and builds upon the Thailand Board of Investment's (BOI) regime.
Certain parts of the EEC area have been designated as special economic promotion zones (SEZ) within which 10 'targeted industries' will enjoy additional privileges. These 10 targeted industries are:
- next-generation automotive;
- smart electronics;
- medical and wellness tourism;
- agriculture and biotechnology;
- food processing;
- aviation and logistics;
- biofuels and biochemicals;
- digital services; and,
- intensive medical and wellness hubs.
The additional privileges include: an exemption from corporate income tax for up to 13 years; the right to bring in foreign experts in certain fields; foreign ownership of land, a 50-year land lease, with the right to renew for up to 49 years; the right to own land and condominiums for the purpose of the business; exemptions from exchange control regulations; and, exemptions from customs law compliance.
A one-stop service to facilitate the issuance of permits and licences under a large number of laws is being established to facilitate starting up businesses in the SEZs.
Thailand has moved up in the World Bank's ease of doing business rankings from 46 in 2016 to 27 in 2018.
The EEC office was relocated in November 2018 to: 3rd Floor, CAT Tower, 72 Soi Wat Maungkhae, Charoenkrung Road, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500. Useful web addresses include: www.eeco.or.th/en/background and www.eeco.or.th/en/content/request-approval-promotional-investment.
Applications for investment in the EEC should be made through the BOI. See the BOI's website at www.boi.go.th, in particular the following titles:
- promotional investment procedure;
- online approval request for promotional investment (E-BOI applications); and
- contract channels for investing in the targeted industries.