Industry leaders: pandemic an opportunity for EEC

Coronavirus lockdowns broke supply chains around the world, but Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) never stopped producing and shipping during the pandemic prompting the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) to tout the Corridor as a preferred investment destination.

“Thailand needs to start stimulating investment now, during the pandemic, to move its economy forward,” said Federation Vice-Chairman Montri Mahaplerkpong.

The Kingdom has an excellent case to make to investors. Many factories and logistics networks across Asia shut down as the coronavirus spread. The ripple effects were enormous. Makers of everything from smartphones to computers to medical equipment were unable to obtain components needed for their products from their usual suppliers.

On the other hand, most factories and logistics networks in Thailand’s EEC remained up and running. The government’s effective handling of the pandemic impressed global public health experts and business leaders. Effectively managing a crisis is a strong selling point for investors.

Many manufacturers began looking to Thai companies to produce the parts they needed, and most Thai firms were willing and able. Although fewer cargo flights were available from international airlines, Laem Chabang deep-sea port kept shipping goods at high volume.

The EEC is Thailand’s showcase advanced development zone. It consists of three provinces adjacent to Bangkok and is the focus of the government’s massive infrastructure upgrade and expansion.

One of the positive effects of the pandemic on Thai businesses has been an acceleration in the adoption of robotics, automation, artificial intelligence and digital processes. These have made manufacturers more resilient in the face of contagion and other potential disruptions. Digital industries are strongly supported in the Corridor.

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