Gov eyes setting up industrial estates on borders

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The Thai government will press ahead with setting up industrial estates along Thailand’s borders to support more investment and links with neighboring nations, after existing industrial parks in the country fully serve investment projects.

Deputy Minister of Industry Supap Kleekajai told a forum on post-flood industrial estates rehabilitation that three industrial parks currently are on the agenda.

Phu Nam Ron Industrial Estate in the western province of Kanchanaburi will link with neighboring Myanmar’s Dawei project.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand will go on site again next week for an inspection. The Yingluck administration set up 13 committees to collaborate with each other and work on the matter.

In the north, an industrial estate is to be constructed at Tak’s Mae Sot district, while another one currently in a feasibility study is in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district to connect with China’s Yunnan province. The latter project’s original location was changed from Chiang Saen district after it was rejected by local residents claiming the area was a historic heritage site and source of civilization.

The government is also considering possibilities to build an industrial estate in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen.

It will also designate the southern province of Narathiwat as a new economic zone although development there is difficult partly due to security issues and its peat swamp forest, Supap said.

Meanwhile, Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said his organization supports the government in finding new locations for industrial estates, as the industrial sector has been more concerned regarding natural disasters, but a proper selection of types of industrial parks to be built is needed.

Thailand is being considered by many foreign investors, he added, for its strategic location connecting with other nations in Southeast Asia. Having good relations with its neighbors will help Thailand to be more attractive among investors particularly when regional economic integration through the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), or ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), is established by 2015.

Thailand is ready as a centre of trade and investment in the region, according to the FTI chairman.

Much value to the country will be added; for instance, agriculture and tourism, with full support by the government. Payungsak said he wished the future development of Thai industry to become eco-friendly industries or towns and produce more value-added goods rather than basic merchandise.