Industry Ministry’s innovation centre fast-tracked

Uttama: High hopes for technology

The Industry Ministry is speeding up its planned investment innovation promotion centre, expecting to support future investment flows under the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.

According to Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, the centre is positioned as the first innovation centre in Southeast Asia in the region’s largest special economic zone.

The centre has been renamed from the innovation space that Mr Uttama initiated in the past few months. It will be located in Chon Buri, one of the three host provinces of the corridor.

The centre will provide information and investment details about the EEC.

“We aim to facilitate and support existing and new investors worldwide, and the centre is also following the government’s 4.0 initiative,” Mr Uttama said. “We have such a high expectation that new technology and innovation will improve the country’s industry, investment and economy in the long run.”

He said the ministry is in discussions with many related state agencies about the centre’s framework.

Mr Uttama said he expects the framework to be completed soon, but further details such as budget have yet to be disclosed.

In addition, Mr Uttama said the ministry is working on a circular economy roadmap, to be concluded this month.

“We are speeding this circular economy project, and the ministry is in talks with private companies and the UN Industrial Development Organization (Unido) for the roadmap development,” he said. “The ministry expects to propose this roadmap to the cabinet for acknowledgement and approval in the same month.”

Unido has a duty to promote industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability.

Founded in 1966, Unido has 173 member states and is headquartered in Vienna.

Thailand is participating with Unido to develop the circular economy framework in Thailand, as the organisation has many experts on the circular model, which also fits well with the government’s smart city policy.

“Unido is in talks with the EEC Office about the development framework, such as transport, logistics, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), waste management, re-treatment and energy,” Mr Uttama said.

Furthermore, Thailand assumes the Asean chairmanship next year, and as such the government will have an important duty for the country to drive the region forward to achieve the utmost benefits for Thais and peoples across the region.

The government and Unido plan to improve Asean’s SME efficiency to the industry 4.0 stage. Thailand will organise the symposium on Asean SME 4.0 for the first time.

Li Yong, Unido’s director-general, said the organisation has 65 resource-efficient cleaner production centres worldwide to help support businesses in increasing their efficiency, cost reductions and environmental friendliness.

“We will team up with Thailand for many partnership projects such as innovation, technology and eco-innovation to promote eco-industry in the country,” Mr Li said.