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Cabinet approves special economic zone in southern Thailand

It has been reported that the Thai cabinet, on 19 December 2006, has approved the establishment of a special economic zone (SEZ) covering the five southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun and Songkhla. The decision was made in an attempt to stimulate the economy in the insurgency affected south.

Businesses which set up operations in these provinces will be eligible for certain tax incentives for three years, from 1 January 2007. Corporate taxes will be levied at 3% instead of the 30% standard rate, personal income tax will be reduced to 0.1% from a progressive rate of up to 37%, and the special business tax on property sales will be lowered from 3% to 0.1%.

Other measures announced to promote the development of the southern provinces include the one year extension of soft loans provided by the Bank of Thailand, relaxation of regulations on the use of foreign labour and the reduction of insurance premiums.

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