Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai government calls for neighbours to unite in SEZs

Thai government calls for neighbours to unite in SEZs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The main entrance to the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, as seen in 2016. The Thai government encourages its neighbouring countries to collaborate and support each other and develop special economic zones (SEZs) HONG MENEA

Thai government calls for neighbours to unite in SEZs

The Thai government is encouraging four neighbouring countries to seize opportunities from the Asean single market and collaborate with all 10 member nations to build up the regional economy in a sustainable manner.

With the new opportunities, special economic zones (SEZs) represent a key project, connecting Thailand and nearby Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, all countries with strong growth potential.

Thai Minister of Industry Uttama Savanayana said Asean countries have roughly 1,000 SEZs, representing 20 per cent of 4,500 SEZs globally in 270 cities.

He said the SEZ scheme will contribute 20 per cent of each country’s GDP and increase worker income by an average of eight per cent annually.

“The SEZ project will improve and develop to serve the economic expansion in Asean countries,” Uttama said at a seminar called Asean SEZs: A New Era of World Investment at the Asean SEZ summit hosted by Bangkok Post Group.

In Thailand, the government initiated 10 SEZs in border provinces in 2015 and is now developing two SEZ locations in Sa Kaeo and Songkhla.

The Kanchanaburi and Tak SEZs are proceeding with land development, while the Treasury Department will issue land auction envelopes for SEZ development in Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan and Nong Khai.

Moreover, the government is working hard on the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme, envisioned as an Asean manufacturing hub providing 44 special service promotion zones.

In addition to Thailand’s SEZs, Cambodia currently has 38 SEZs.

Laos has 15 SEZs and Myanmar has 20 SEZs.

Malaysia runs 18 SEZs, 300 special service promotion zones and six technology industrial parks.

Vietnam has 18 SEZs, 292 special service promotion zones and three technology industrial parks.

Singapore has two SEZs, two eco-industrial estates and one technology centre.

“Asean should synchronise all industrial zones to be a single production base, and many SEZs in this region can support the Asean economy,” Uttama said. “All members should collaborate and support each other to develop industrial value chains, digital aspects and innovation to reduce inequality issues in the region.”

He said he expects the EEC scheme to change Asean industrial sentiment, improve existing connectivity and foster manufacturing and innovation.

The government aims to connect the corridor and SEZs in other partnerships such as the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy.

Nonetheless, SET-listed Amata VN Plc president Somhatai Panichewa said the group has spent 3.4 billion baht ($103.97 million) on investment in industrial-related infrastructure at Amata operations in Vietnam.

Amata VN plans to invest in a smart city in Vietnam and team up with Japan’s Yokohama city next year. It will also join with South Korea’s Incheon metropolitan area to develop a smart city in Vietnam.

“Vietnam has such high potential in the industrial sector, and this country can connect with Thailand, so investors can expand their businesses between Thailand and Vietnam,” Somhatai said.

Amata VN invested in Amata City Bien Hoa, Amata City Halong and Amata City Long Thanh in Vietnam for its first overseas industrial operations.

Parent firm Amata Corporation has invested in Vietnam for 20 years.

This year, Amata VN spent 700 million baht in Bien Hoa, 1.3 billion baht in Long Thanh and 700 million baht in Halong.

Next year, plans call for allocating more investment budget in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar for the development of new industrial estates.

Somhatai said the four neighbouring countries can cooperate and support new investment in Asean to reduce customs red tape and help investors.

The four are developing transport links such as the Thailand-Myanmar connecting route to Dawei port, Cambodia’s Sihanoukville Autonomous Port and Vietnam’s Vung Tau port.

“All the related infrastructure will help support the Asean economy for sustainable growth in the long run,” Somhatai said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Sneaky simians mob man, snatch Covid-19 samples

    Monkeys mobbed an Indian health worker and made off with coronavirus test blood samples, spreading fears that the stealing simians could spread the pandemic in the local area. Indian authorities often have to grapple with primates snatching food and even mobile phones. After making off

  • Public warned of dengue risks amid rainy season

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has issued an eight-point plan to destroy mosquitoes carrying dengue fever amid the rainy season. In a four-page directive, Bun Heng warned that while the number of dengue cases has dropped sharply compared to last year, it could increase

  • Thirteen charged in UK migrant lorry tragedy

    Thirdteen suspects arrested by French police over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a refrigerated lorry in Britain have been charged with people trafficking, a judicial source said on Saturday. Six of the group – mainly Vietnamese and French nationals – were held on Tuesday in the

  • Cambodian Blue Helmet dies of virus

    The last rites for Cambodian Blue Helmet peacekeeper Sar Savy, who died on Friday at 63 from Covid-19 while on a mission in the Republic of Mali, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the UN base there. Cambodia’s National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces

  • World Bank approves $15M loan to upskill healthcare sector

    The World Bank on Friday approved $15 million to equip medical professionals with skills to ensure quality of care for better health outcomes, it said in a statement. The budget released by the bank’s International Development Association (IDA) will help the Ministry of Health’s

  • Ministry signs MoU to develop ICT training

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IT Academy STEP Cambodia (STEP) to further develop the Sisters of Code project. The project trains female students in computer programming, and enhances information and communication technology (ICT) textbooks