EEC draws over $900 million in investment from U.S.

Investors from the U.S. have pledged nearly $1 billion for projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand’s advanced development zone, putting America the fourth largest investor in the corridor, the Ministry of Commerce said last week.

Total investment in the EEC last year climbed to $24.7 billion as more than a dozen countries committed to setting up or expanding facilities there. The EEC is a three-province zone adjacent to Bangkok that is already home to many major American companies, including carmakers, petrochemical firms, and electronics makers.

Japanese investors led the pack, pledging $12.3 billion, followed by China with $2.2 billion, Singapore $1.4 billion, and the U.S. at $910 million.

The EEC serves as a showcase for Thailand 4.0, the 20-year national strategy to transform the Kingdom’s economy into one driven by innovation, research and development, high and green technologies. The government is devoting considerable sums to expand and upgrade infrastructure in the corridor to deepen trade and infrastructure linkages with the region and the world.

The EEC is also the epicenter of Thailand’s growing digital economy. The Thai and the U.S. Chambers of Commerce have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation to boost Thailand’s digital economy.

John Goyer, Executive Director for the Southeast Asia chapter of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said a survey showed that 70 percent of members in Thailand are optimistic about progress on the EEC. American businesses would like to help Thailand’s small businesses make greater use of digital technology, and they want to invest more in the Kingdom’s digital economy.

Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, Director of the Department of Business Development, said that the top two business sectors investing in the EEC are real estate companies at 829 firms, followed by building construction companies at 398, reflecting the early stages of the area’s development.

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