PRESSED FOR TIME
Japanese investors seek longer deadline
The government may extend the window for taking advantage of investment privileges in the EEC beyond this year’s deadline.
TOKYO: The government may extend the window for taking advantage of investment privileges in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) beyond the original deadline of 2017.
Hiranya Sujinai, secretary-general to the Board of Investment (BoI), said the board is set to consider the possibility of extending the application period for the investment privileges at its meeting to be held in July, with the extension likely to be approved.
Japanese investors via the Japan External Trade Organization have recently proposed that the Thai government give them more time to make decisions about investing in the much-touted EEC.
The EEC, spanning a combined 30,000 rai in Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, is intended as a special zone for investment in 10 targeted industries promoted as clusters by the government.
The 10 industries are 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.
Mrs Hiranya said Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak yesterday met executives from four companies that are keen to invest at least 25 billion baht in the EEC.
The f our firms are Kyocera Corporation, Spiber Inc, Kuraray Co and Subaru Corporation.
Currently, Kyocera Corporation, a multinational electronics and ceramics manufacturer headquartered in Kyoto, runs a factory in Lamphun making solar cells. The company is interested in investing in medical equipment.
Spiber, a biomaterials company engaged in the research of synthetic spider silk and other protein-based materials, is conducting a feasibility study on investing in the EEC, while Kuraray, a maker of chemicals, fibres and other materials, is setting up a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation and PTT Global Chemical Plc to produce speciality chemicals and plastics.
Mr Somkid asked Subaru Corporation to invest in manufacturing aircraft parts at U-tapao airport, where the government has already announced that 6,500 rai will be developed into a special investment promotion zone for aviation, a key component of the EEC.
Subaru is a multinational corporation and conglomerate primarily involved in aerospace and ground transport manufacturing, known for its line of Subaru automobiles.
The 6,500-rai aviation zone will cover aircraft-related business, air cargo and warehouses, which will be 100% open to foreign investment.
“I’ve tried to convince the executives of those companies that Thailand is situated in an appropriate location for investment, especially in the EEC, where the Thai government is heavily investing in infrastructure and logistics service development,” said Mr Somkid.
He said he has tasked the BoI with attracting greater investment from Japan.
According to the BoI, Japan submitted 1,546 applications worth 584 billion baht in 2016.