Following on from our recent alert, the Act for the Eastern Special Development Zone (commonly called the Eastern Economic Corridor or “EEC”) was published in the Royal Gazette on 14 May 2018 and took effect on 15 May 2018.
There are ten targeted industries for the EEC: next-generation automotive, intelligent electronics, tourism for high-income tourists and medical tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food processing, robotics, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemical, digital, and holistic medical and health services.
The key benefits which will be introduced for businesses operators in the Special Economic Promotion Zones (“SEPZ”) within the EEC include, but are not limited to:
- the right to own land to operate the approved business activities in an SEPZ within the EEC, without seeking approval under the Land Code, and the right to own condominiums to operate the approved business activities or to live with an exemption from the restrictions under the condominium law;
- the right to bring foreigners with certain professions or knowledge to work in Thailand;
- the right to an exemption or reduction of corporate income tax not exceeding the right as specified in the Investment Promotion Act or the National Competitive Enhancement Act for Targeted Industries;
- the right to be exempted from the exchange control law, and to use foreign currency for payment of goods and services between business operators;
- the right for foreigners with certain special knowledge or abilities to be considered for receiving tax deductions, and special rights regarding immigration law and other laws;
- the right to lease land in an SEPZ within the EEC for up to 50 years to develop and promote the target industries, whereby this lease can be renewed for 49 years afterwards;
- the right to be exempted from the customs law, partly or wholly, in imports or exports;
- qualified foreign professionals may be able to work in an SEPZ within the EEC in certain professions which normally require Thai nationality or licensing; and
- the authority to approve license applications under several laws, such as the factory law and the building control law, being transferred to the secretary of the Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Committee to bypass legal restrictions regarding foreign investment.
Please note that a number of provisions in the Act, e.g. benefits, are subject to further regulations to be determined and issued by the above committee.
Please stay tuned for developments.