Thailand sees US$10bil investment in industrial east this year as only 80 Covid-19 cases confirmed on Monday (March 1)


Image courtesy of The Nation Thailand/ANN.

BANGKOK, March 1 (Reuters): Thailand expects investment to triple to at least US$10 billion in the country's industrial east this year as investment projects previously held by the coronavirus outbreak get pushed forward again as the pandemic eases, an official said on Monday.

Actual investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) could be at least 300 billion baht (US$10 billion) this year, up from 96 billion baht in 2020, or 46% of total project applications, EEC head Kanit Sangsubhan told a briefing.

"As investors didn't invest last year, they would have to do it this year. There will be a bunch of projects held up from previous years," he said.

The EEC straddles eastern provinces and is a centrepiece of government efforts to boost growth and encourage investment particularly in high-tech industries. Investors are allowed to rent land for up to 99 years. (https://www.eeco.or.th/en)

In a separate briefing, Stanley Kang, chairman of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand, said the country remained a good investment destination but it needed to reopen as soon as possible to draw foreign investors.

"If travelling is difficult, it will be hard to help the economy," he said. "But vaccines have arrived and we hope Thailand will produce vaccines in June, so the second half should be better," he added.



On Sunday, the country started its Covid-19 inoculation campaign, but it has yet to lift a travel ban imposed last April to curb the spread of the virus.

Thailand's tourism-reliant economy, South-East Asia's second largest, suffered its deepest slump in over two decades last year due to the impact of the pandemic. The government expects growth of 2.5-3.5% this year.

For most of last year Thailand kept infections low, but a second wave emerged in December and slowed activity. Recent cases, however, have slowed sharply.

Meanwhile, Thailand on Monday confirmed 80 cases of the coronavirus infection, mostly domestic, according to the Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Of Monday's new cases, 64 were reported as domestic while 16 others referred to those who had returned from abroad and tested positive in Thailand, CCSA spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said.

The domestic cases included 35 in Pathum Thani, 19 in Samut Sakhon and two in Bangkok, among other provinces, Taweesin said.

Thailand has so far confirmed 26,031 cases of infection, 23,245 of which were domestic infections while 2,786 others referred to imported cases.

So far, 25,324 patients have fully recovered and been released from hospitals while 624 others are currently hospitalised and 83 fatalities have been reported. - Reuters
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