Eastern Economic Corridor
Special Economic Zone
Eastern Special Development Zone
romanisation:Khēt Phathanā Phisēt Phāk Tawan-ǭk
(clockwise from upper left) View of Pattaya skyline, Wat Sothonwararam main hall, Sanctuary of Truth, Phra Abhimani and the mermaid of Ko Samet, and Ganesha of Wat Saman Rattanaram
Official logo of Eastern Economic Corridor
The Prime Gateway to Asia[1]
RegionEastern Thailand
3 provinces
Largest city
by population
Si Racha
Before establishmentEastern seaboard
NCPO head order17 January 2017
ESDZ act15 May 2018
Governing bodyEastern Special Development Zone Policy Office
 • TypeSpecial economic zone
 • SecretariatChula Sukmanop
 • Total13,266 km2 (5,122 sq mi)
 • Total2,973,770
 • Density220/km2 (580/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+7 (ICT)

The Eastern Economic Corridor (Abrv: EEC; Thai: ระเบียงเศรษฐกิจภาคตะวันออก, romanizedRabīang Sētthakit Phāk Tawan-ǭk, RTGSRabiang Setthakit Phak Tawan-ok, pronounced [rā.bīa̯ŋ sèːt.tʰā.kìt pʰâːk tā.wān.ʔɔ̀ːk]) officially the Eastern Special Development Zone (ESDZ), is a special economic zone of three provinces in eastern Thailand. Collectively, these provinces occupy an area of 13,266 km2 (5,122 sq mi), and in 2016 had an estimated population of over 2.8 million.

The zone was established on 17 January 2017, at the direction of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), with the mission of promoting economic integration across the (Eastern seaboard).[2] The first law of the EEC is the Eastern Special Development Zone Act, proclaimed on 15 May 2019.[3]


Main article: Eastern seaboard of Thailand

The Eastern Seaboard Development Programme (ESDP) was initiated as part of the Fifth Economic and Social Development Plan of Thailand (1982–1986).[4] It aimed at developing the region of the eastern seaboard in order to promote industrial growth and to decentralize economic and population growth.[5] The Thai government approached the World Bank for funding, but was turned away as, in the eyes of the bank, the project lacked "economic rationality".[6] Japan rescued the project by providing a modest 178.8 billion yen (US$1.6 billion) in loans, underwriting the construction of 16 projects: ports, roads, waterworks, and industrial parks. Japanese companies then invested heavily in the region. As of 2020, many of the estimated 5,500 Japanese companies in Thailand have facilities in the area.[6]

After the 2014 coup, the NCPO announced the creation of a special economic zone (SEZ) called the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with a budget of 1.5 trillion baht (US$43 billion) over its first five years.[7] It is a key component of the "Thailand 4.0" economic policy announced in 2016.[8] As of 2017, the prime minister had invoked the special powers of Section 44 of the interim charter to revoke city plans in three provinces to remove obstacles to EEC development.[9] Planners see the region as strategically important as it borders the gulf as well as being close to Bangkok, and two major airports.

In December 2022,[10] the Thai government approved a 1.35 trillion baht ($44 billion) plan to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) into a regional financial hub and a world-class smart city by 2037.[11] The project will be divided into three phases, with the business and financial hub being constructed by 2025 and developed into one of the world's top 10 smart cities by 2037. The government estimates that the smart city will accommodate 350,000 people and create at least 200,000 jobs by 2032. 87.5% of the budget will come from the private sector, 2.8% from the government, and 9.7% from state enterprises or public-private partnerships. The project is expected to boost Thailand's GDP by 2 trillion baht over 10 years. Leased land and property in the EEC business hub and smart city will be transferred back to the government in 50 years.[12][13][14]

Administrative divisions

The economic zone includes three principal provinces and two peripheral provinces.

Member provinces
Seal Flag Province Capital Accession Population
Area Population
Chachoengsao Chachoengsao 17 January 2017 715,009 5,351 km2
(2,066 sq mi)
(350/sq mi)
Chonburi Chonburi 17 January 2017 1,535,445 4,363 km2
(1,685 sq mi)
(910/sq mi)
Rayong Rayong 17 January 2017 723,361 1,568.737 km2
(605.693 sq mi)
(1,190/sq mi)
Bangkok Associated Area 10,820,921 1,004 km2
(388 sq mi)
(27,910/sq mi)
Samut Prakan Samut Prakan Associated Area 1,326,608 1,004 km2
(388 sq mi)
(3,420/sq mi)

Governing body

Main article: Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Office

The Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Office (ESDZPO) is the governing body of the Eastern Economic Corridor. It is an independent public agency, reporting directly to the prime minister. It was established on 15 May 2019 by the Eastern Special Development Zone (2018) Act and replaced the Eastern Economic Corridor Office.

EEC Secretariat

The EEC Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of the Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Office.

No. Name Took office Left office Notes
1 Kanit Sangsubhan 17 January 2017 17 August 2022
2 Chula Sukmanop 1 April 2023 [16]


Main article: Economy of Thailand

The EEC had a 2013 GDP of US$158.79bn (on a purchasing power parity basis), and US$63.76bn (on a nominal basis), about 15% of Thailand's GDP.[17]


Twelve Key Industries Identified as Potential Growth Engines for Thailand:[18]

Five S-curve industries: Next-generation automotive,[19] intelligent electronics,[20] advanced agriculture and biotechnology,[21] food for the future,[22] and high-value and medical tourism.[23]

Seven new S-curve and supporting/emerging industries: Automation and robotics,[24] aviation and logistics,[25] medical and comprehensive healthcare,[26] biofuel and biochemical,[27] digital,[28] defense,[29] and education and human resource development.[30]

Promotional zones

The EEC Policy Committee approved promotional zones in two categories:[31]

Special services

Zone Type Governing agency Status Area Location Province Ref
EECa Aerotropolis Royal Thai Navy Declared 10.4 km2
(4.0 sq mi)
U-Tapao International Airport Chonburi, and Rayong [32]
EECd Space krenovapolis Ministry of Digital Economy and Society Declared 1.28 km2
(0.49 sq mi)
Digital Park Chonburi [33]
EECh High-speed rail State Railway of Thailand Declared 1.3712 km2
(0.5294 sq mi)
Eastern high-speed railway Bangkok, Samut Prakan,
Chachoengsao, Chonburi,
and Rayong
EECi Aripolis, and Biopolis National Science and Technology Development Agency Declared 5.6 km2
(2.2 sq mi)
Wang Chan Valley Rayong [35][36]
EECmd Comprehensive healthcare Thammasat University Declared 0.4256 km2
(0.1643 sq mi)
Thammasat University Pattaya Chonburi [37]
EECgenomics Genomics Burapha University Declared 0.0592 km2
(0.0229 sq mi)
Faculty of Pharmacy, BU Chonburi [38]
EECtp Innovation Technology Park Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand Declared 0.8304 km2
(0.3206 sq mi)
Ban Chang Rayong [39]
EEC Business Center
& Livable Smart City
Smart city Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand Declared 24 km2
(9.3 sq mi)
Huai Yai Chonburi [12][13]


There are currently 26 industrial estates and 2 industrial clusters in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) of Thailand. The industrial estates are:[40][41]

Smart city

The EEC Livable Smart City, in its ultimate phase, will span over 10,000 hectares (100 square kilometers) and accommodate 2 million inhabitants. Its design prioritizes livability, sustainability, and smart technologies, with a central 64-hectare park and natural waterways connecting twelve districts. The city will also features various facilities, including government buildings, offices, a convention center, a retail market, a healthcare hub, a research and development hub, a start-up community, and a world-class sports complex for major international events.[42]

Public transport


U-Tapao International Airport

The Eastern Economic Corridor is served by U-Tapao International Airport, one of three main commercial airports in the country. As Bangkok's two international airports are currently operating beyond capacity,[43] the government intends to transform U-Tapao into a third major destination for airlines.[44] To support this goal, the state government and private sector have developed a project plan to construct an airport with two 3,500-meter runways and 124 aircraft stands, along with supporting facilities such as an MRO Complex, an Aviation Training Center, and a Ground Transportation Center. The project is being undertaken by U-Tapao International Aviation Company Limited (BBS Joint Venture), which was awarded a 50-year contract and recently signed the Public Private Partnership Agreement of U-Tapao International Airport & Eastern Airport City Project on 19 June 2020. The signing ceremony was presided over by the Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. U-Tapao International Aviation Company Limited is a joint venture among three large private companies: Bangkok Airways, BTS Group Holdings, and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction.[45]

The private sector partners will also construct a third Passenger Terminal Building, a Cargo Village, and a Free Trade Zone, among other commercial areas. These facilities will be seamlessly connected to the airport by a Ground Transportation Center, which will include a high-speed train, buses, and taxis. Additionally, an Automated People Mover (APM) will run through automated walkways and allow passengers to travel to and from the airport quickly and efficiently. The project will be completed in four phases, with the first phase set to be completed by 2024, accommodating 15.9 million passengers, and the final phase scheduled for completion in 2055, accommodating up to 60 million passengers annually.[46][45][47]

The Eastern Airport City is a part of the larger initiative to improve transportation and logistics infrastructure in the EEC. It is a planned mixed-use development that will be integrated with U-Tapao International Airport, serving as a hub for aviation-related industries, logistics, and tourism. The Airport City will feature various commercial areas, including hotels, shopping malls, convention centers, and office buildings. The development is expected to attract both domestic and international investors, creating jobs and spurring economic growth in the region.[48][49][45]


Makkasan Station is one of fifteen eastern high-speed rail stations.

The Eastern Economic Corridor is served by the State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) Eastern Line. The main stations are Chachoengsao Junction railway station and Chon Buri railway station.

A high-speed rail line is planned to serve the EEC. The Don Mueang–Suvarnabhumi–U-Tapao high-speed railway will connect Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao International Airport. On 24 October 2019, a 224.5 billion baht (US$7.4bn) contract was signed by the Thai government and a consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Holding to build the railway. The consortium includes Charoen Pokphand (CP); Ch. Karnchang PLC (CK); Bangkok Expressway and Metro PLC (BEM); Italian-Thai Development PLC (ITD); and China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC). The 220 kilometre line will consist of 181 kilometres of elevated track, eight kilometres of underground track, and two kilometres of surface track. Construction of the rail line will begin 12 to 24 months from the date of contract signing. Trains on the route will operate at maximum speeds of 250 kmph. The consortium will have the right to operate and manage the rail line for 50 years after which project assets will revert to the government.[50]


The Ministry of Transport's plan to extend Motorway 7 (Bangkok-Chon Buri-Map Ta Phut) to connect U-Tapao International Airport with seaports and the Bangkok metropolitan area is aimed at integrating land transportation.[51]


Laem Chabang Port

A passenger-only ferry service from Pattaya to Hua Hin began operation on 12 January 2017 but is no longer in operation.It was operated by Royal Passenger Liner.[52] By road, the journey takes five to six hours. The ferry shortens travel time to about two hours, subject to sea conditions. The ferry cruises at 27 knots on the 113 km journey across the Gulf of Thailand with a maximum passenger capacity of 150 persons. Larger ferries carrying up to 260 people may be added to the service later. Ferries capable of carrying vehicles are projected for 2020.[53]

The Eastern Economic Corridor is served by two ports: Laem Chabang Port and Map Ta Phut Port. Laem Chabang Port is main international port from its opening in 1991. It is Thailand's largest port. The port occupies 2,572 acres (1,041 ha) and is capable of handling the largest (Post-Panamax) vessels.[54]

Health, education and research

The EEC is home to Burapha University, Amata University (EEC campus of National Taiwan University), CMKL University (Carnegie Mellon University), and Asian Institute of Hospitality Management (Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland). The University of Tokyo (Japan), Kyoto University (Japan), Waseda University (Japan), Hohai University (China), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Auckland University of Technology plan to open campuses in the EEC.[55][56]

See also


  1. ^ "Corporate Identity". Eastern Economic Corridor Office. www.eeco.or.th. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  2. ^ คำสั่งหัวหน้าคณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติที่ ๒/๒๕๖๐ เรื่อง การพัฒนาระเบียงเศรษฐกิจพิเศษภาคตะวันออก ราชกิจจานุเบกษา เล่ม ๑๓๔ ตอน ๑๙ ง พิเศษ หน้า ๓๐ ๑๗ มกราคม ๒๕๖๐
  3. ^ "พระราชบัญญัติเขตพัฒนาพิเศษภาคตะวันออก พ.ศ. ๒๕๖๑" (PDF). Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  4. ^ Kri-aksorn, Thammachart (5 May 2020). "EEC (3): Influence of Chinese Concepts on Thai Economic Development". Prachatai English. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  5. ^ "The Fifth National Economic and Social Development Plan". Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b Takahashi, Toru (16 November 2019). "Thailand's iconic railway project set to deepen economic divisions". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. ^ Villadiego, Laura (23 July 2017). "THAILAND CHASES CHINESE MONEY, BUT AT WHAT COST?". South China Morning Post (SCMP). Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  8. ^ Hall, Tom (29 October 2017). "Empowering ASEAN exhibitions". Exhibition World. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. ^ Rujivanarom, Pratch (30 October 2017). "Critics slam NCPO order suspending city planning". The Nation. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  10. ^ Cabinet approves operational plan for trillion-baht EEC smart city project, December 21, 2022
  11. ^ "Cabinet approves operational plan for trillion-baht EEC smart city project".
  12. ^ a b ECC New City
  13. ^ a b ECC New City
  14. ^ ECC New City
  15. ^ "ร่ยงานสถิติจำนวนประชากรและบ้านประจำปี พ.ศ.2561" [Statistics, population and house statistics for the year 2018]. Registration Office Department of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior. stat.bora.dopa.go.th (in Thai). 31 December 2018. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  16. ^ "เซ็นแล้ว! "จุฬา สุขมานพ" นั่งเลขาฯ อีอีซีคนใหม่ มีผล 1 เม.ย.นี้ ลุยภารกิจลงทุน-ขับเคลื่อน 5 เมกะโปรเจกต์", mgronline.com (in Thai), March 28, 2023
  17. ^ "Gross Regional and Provincial Product, 2013 Edition". Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB). April 2015. ISSN 1686-0799. Archived from the original on 9 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Targeted Industries". Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  19. ^ Next-generation automotive industry
  20. ^ Intelligent electronics
  21. ^ Advanced agriculture and biotechnology
  22. ^ Food for the future
  23. ^ Medical tourism industries
  24. ^ Automation and robotics
  25. ^ Aviation and logistics
  26. ^ Medical and comprehensive healthcare
  27. ^ Biofuel and biochemical
  28. ^ Digital
  29. ^ Defense
  30. ^ Education and human resource development
  31. ^ "Overview of the Promotional Zone". Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  32. ^ "ความคืบหน้าในการพัฒนาเขตพัฒนาพิเศษภาคตะวันออก ตุลาคม 2564 - มีนาคม 2565" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office (in Thai). Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  33. ^ "DIGITAL PARK THAILAND" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  34. ^ "ประกาศสำานักงานคณะกรรมการนโยบายเขตพัฒนาพิเศษภาคตะวันออก" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office (in Thai). Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  35. ^ Promotion area
  36. ^ Promotion area
  37. ^ "EECmd" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  38. ^ "EECgenomics" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  39. ^ Announced EEC
  40. ^ Industrial estates
  41. ^ Announced promotion area
  42. ^ EEC Livable Smart City Masterplan, retrieved March 28, 2023
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  44. ^ BBS group revs up engines for Thailand's third major airport, nationthailand, June 25, 2020
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  46. ^ THE NEW SOUL OF THAILAND, retrieved March 1, 2023
  47. ^ "Terminal 2 at U-Tapao airport to be fully opened in February". The Nation. 8 November 2018. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  48. ^ Airport Airport City U-Tapao International Aviation Co., Ltd., retrieved March 1, 2023
  49. ^ "Cabinet approves Eastern Airport City". bangkok post. August 9, 2022.
  50. ^ "Thailand signs $7.4bn high-speed train project agreement". Railway Technology. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  51. ^ "Motorway 7 extension speeds up", Bangkok Post, June 12, 2021
  52. ^ "10 Spooktacular Halloween Costume Ideas For Pets – Suggestive.com | Everyday News and Entertainment". Archived from the original on 17 December 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
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  54. ^ "Information". Laem Chabang Port. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  55. ^ "Les Roches Global Hospitality Education". Ministry of Education. 5 January 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  56. ^ "ดึงญี่ปุ่นตั้งมหาวิทยาลัย เปิดหลักสูตรในอีอีซี". bangkokbiznews. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.

Further reading