New BOI promotion incentives added for EEC
The Board of Investment announced that applications for investment support rose in number and value in the first quarter of the year to a total of 366 projects, a 27 percent rise year on year, and a combined value tripling to over 200 billion baht. Sixty-six of the approved projects are in the Eastern Economic Corridor and have a combined value of 160 billion baht; 81 percent of the total budget of all applications. The BOI expects the value of all projects to reach their target of 720 billion baht in the third quarter.
The BOI changed its investment support for projects in science and technology to include tax incentives for operations specifically in the EEC. The BOI is also offering incentives such as an 8-year tax exemption for income generated from product distribution services to other countries in a bid to boost Thailand as an e-commerce and e-logistics hub for the region in a new BOI promotion category for the EEC. Investors will be required to invest at least 1 billion baht and hire at least 20% Thai staff working in artificial intelligence, smart warehouses, data centers, data science, data analytics and digital transactions. They will also need to provide training on big data and data analytics and conduct R&D for educational institutes in Thailand. Investors in the EEC Digital and Innovation will be eligible for tax breaks for 13 years, up from the current 10 years. The Board also approved an 8 year tax exemption for smart city development to facilitate investment in transport projects, education, safety, the ease of doing business, state services, the energy sector and the environment.
The BOI also extended promotion privileges for the ten Special Economic Zones for a further two years; the ten SEZs are Tak, Trat, Mukdahan, Sakaeo, Songkhla, Chiang Rai, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom, Kanchanaburi, and Narathiwat.
CIMB Bank Thai forecast a weaker baht this quarter due to foreign capital outflows after the United States hiked policy rates. CMBT predicts the baht will reach 32.50 against the dollar from the current 31.90. The baht is expected to move between 31.5 to 32.5 until the fourth quarter when further weakening is expected. The US Federal Reserve is expected to continue tightening monetary policy this year with two more hikes in the policy rate after raising the rate twice already.
The Director of the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) urged business owners to register for intellectual property protection including copyrights, patents, and trademarks to ensure legal protection for their business as e-commerce and online shopping booms. He warned online resellers to not sell or provide downloads of copyright-infringing content and to trace back the origin of products. Those holding copyrights to products and services that have been infringed online should collect evidence and file a report with the police for legal prosecution.