Hong Kong-Thailand Business Council Breakfast Talk
19 April 23

Eastern Economic Corridor due to bring substantial benefits to Thailand and other ASEAN economies at large. 

Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow partook in a fireside chat moderated by Hon Bernard Charnwut Chan, at a breakfast co-hosted by the Hong Kong - Thailand Business Council and the Hong Kong-ASEAN Foundation. The event featured extensive and candid dialogue over the Thai economy, as well as the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a special economic zone comprising three provinces in Eastern Thailand.

Ambassador Sihasak highlighted the transformative potential and room for growth in the EEC, which aims to promote greater economic integration and development across Thailand's East Coast. He also remarked upon the fact that the zone is developing at a pace that outstrips the rest of Thailand's - demonstrative of its ability to spearhead the country's intensive efforts at digital and technological transformations to its core industries. As an export-led zone comprising leading innovators in fields such as bio-technology, health and medical technology, and digital electronics, the EEC will play a pivotal role in connecting Thailand across North-South, East-West, and South-West corridors with neighbouring states.

As a centrally located country within ASEAN, Thailand is keen to seize fully upon the exclusive opportunities afforded by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to serve as a transportation, logistical, and railway hub conjoining China with other ASEAN economies. The EEC will also be seeking to attract leading manufacturers in China - e.g. BYD - in setting up a presence in the zone. With a combination of intense foreign direct investment (FDI), high-tech partners across both public and private sectors, and its strategic location, the EEC is poised to lead Thailand's smart city transformation.

A core part of this project will require investment and capital-raising - USD60 billion is the anticipated amount required for the construction and development of infrastructure, industries, and manufacturing bases over the next 3-5 years. Hong Kong has a key role to play in supporting the financing and providing professional services (e.g. legal expertise) to the EEC. The Ambassador looks forward to closer and more collaboration between Thailand and Hong Kong on this front, and beyond.