Framework announced for Eastern Economic Corridor project

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Bangkok – Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired a meeting of the Policy Committee on the Eastern Economic Corridor project this week and announced that the national defense industry should be included as the 11th industrial group under the EEC project.

The country’s Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Industry, Board of Investment and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand were assigned to take this into account and have approved the development of major infrastructure for the project as follows:

-The high-speed rail project to link three airports. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in the project. The private firms to implement the project will be selected in February 2018, followed by negotiations in July 2018, and the service will be operational from 2023.

-The Eastern Aviation City project. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in May 2018 and the firms to implement the project will be selected and negotiations will be held in October 2018 and the service will be operational from 2023.

-The Aircraft Repair and Maintenance Center at U-Tapao to be jointly implemented by the Navy, the Thai Airways International and AirBus Co. Details of the planned joint venture will be compiled in March 2018 and an initial operation will commence in 2021.

-U-tapao Airport Development project to be implemented in line with the Eastern Aviation City project.

-The Dual-Track Rail project to link three ports. A feasibility study on the project will be finished in 2019 whereas the firms to implement it will be selected in 2020 and an initial operation will begin in 2023.

-Laem Chabang Deep-Sea Port project for which an environmental study is being conducted. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in June 2018 whereas the firms to implement the project will be selected and negotiations will be held in October 2018 and the service will be operational from 2025.

-Mab Taput Industrial Port project for which an approval on environmental aspects is currently underway. The private sector will be encouraged to co-invest in the project in June 2018 whereas the firms chosen to implement it will be selected and negotiations will be held in September 2018 and the service will be operational from 2024.

-Sattahip Commercial Port project for which the construction of a ferry-boat passenger terminal is underway. The service is expected to be operational in February 2019.

The PM suggested that the ferry-boat port in Pranburi district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province be developed to accommodate marine tourism in the Gulf of Thailand and that it be part of the EEC project. Additionally, he instructed the authorities to promote the use of rubber in every infrastructural construction plan in an effort to raise the demand and price of domestic rubber.

Khanit Saengsupan, secretary general of the Policy Committee on the Eastern Economic Corridor project, said the EEC Development Act, which is to be come into force in 2018, will raise the confidence of investors, including those who are awaiting the detailed clauses of the law.