Songkhla SEZ catches the eye of investors

Economy June 12, 2015 01:00

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai


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MANY local and foreign investors are taking a close look at the Songkhla Special Economic Zone (SEZ), mainly for rubber processing and logistics, with a view to growing along with Asean's integration.

Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said yesterday that following the government’s policy to promote the development of 10 SEZs to serve economic integration, many Thai, Malaysian and investors from other countries such as China, India and Sri Lanka have shown great interest in setting up in the SEZs.

The focus is on industries related to rubber such as rubber processing, rubber tyres and rubber gloves as well as integrated logistics including container yards and inland container depots, he said.

Besides Songkhla, SEZs in Tak, Sa Kaew, Mukdahan, Trat, Chiang Rai, Narathiwat, Nakhon Phanom and Kanchanaburi will also be promoted to draw more investors.

The SEZs are seen as a vehicle to help promote local economies, enhance competitiveness and boost employment.

To promote closer ties between Thai and Malaysian enterprises, the Commerce Ministry is cooperating with the Malaysian government to hold a joint public-private meeting in Songkhla today.

It will also host a business matching event for about 150 Thai and Malaysian companies to expand investment in nine industries in the South and the SEZs.

The industries are retail and wholesale, restaurant, food and processed food, home decoration, hotel and tourism, construction, agricultural product trading, agricultural equipment and materials.

Ditthaporn Sasasmit, an adviser to the commerce minister, said the joint meeting will aim at increasing trade, investment and logistics between the two countries.

More than 300 manufacturers and traders are also exhibiting goods and services at Songkhla’s cross-border trade fair from June 10-14. The fair is expected to generate about Bt30 million in immediate sales.

Ditthaporn said better bonds between Thai and Malaysian government agencies as well as companies should help strengthen trade and investment.

The ministry plans to drive cross-border trade up to Bt1.5 trillion this year. Thai-Malaysian trade takes the largest share at 51 per cent.

Two-way trade between Thailand and Malaysia reached Bt507.65 billion last year, of which Bt274.99 billion was Thai exports. In the first four months of the year, cross-border trade between the two countries hit Bt154 billion, of which Bt81 billion was Thai exports.