Thailand’s supportive investment environment: The key agencies (Part 2)

May 3rd, 2021

One crucial reference body for foreign investors in Thailand, particularly for those seeking to set up their own production or service facilities, is the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, or IEAT, a department of the Ministry of Industry.
The IEAT is tasked with setting up clusters of complementary industrial branches in estates to enhance synergies for investors, streamline infrastructure and reduce operational costs. The responsibilities also include land use, workplace safety, insurance, trade promotion and environmental issues, among others. The authority has also been assigned to decentralize industrial activity across the country to stimulate economic growth in under-industrialized areas.
In case a foreign investor wants to establish a factory setting or a branch to provide services in Thailand, IEAT is the preferred contact point. The agency will advise the investor, suggest a location and propose business conditions. The agency has positioned itself as a one-stop-service center for factory set-ups in the country and, as of late, has put in place a scheme to support “smart” industrial estates and factory outlets in accordance with the Thai government’s Industry 4.0 scheme that encourages operators to combine manufacturing with digital technology and big data analysis.
The foreign investors will have the choice to lease or own the land as the IEAT law explicitly allows foreign companies to own 100% of industrial estate land to conduct business, a rule applicable to all IEAT-operated or co-operated industrial estates, but not to regular industrial parks in the country. This full ownership is a big advantage over other regional countries which would not allow foreign business to outright own land.
Investors who do not see the need to own industrial land for their facilities can opt for short- or long-term leasing contracts for land or for ready-built facilities or warehouses.
Industrial estates are particularly prevalent in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in the Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong provinces. There, the government’s EEC office is promoting a number of S-curve industries, including next generation automotive, smart electronics, biotechnology, food innovations, robotics, biofuels, digital, medtech, defence and education development.


Image: Partners high-up - IEAT's logo is seen next to Amata's logo on the Amata Chonburi service center (Amata)

Article copyright: Amata