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01/11/2007 - Free Trade Zone in Phuket?  01/11/2007 - Free Trade Zone in Phuket?

Investors from the Middle East have expressed an interest in establishing a Free Port and Free Trade Zone in Phuket.

A representative from a consortium of middle eastern investors met with the Governor of Phuket to discuss their proposals on 4th october 2007.

The desire of the group is to regenerate commercial shipping in Phuket and this would include a deep sea port with a state of the art passenger terminal and dedicated passenger vessels to provide regular connections to Singapore and Malaysia.

Comparisons were drawn between Phuket and Dubai, which both thrived on a single source economy - oil in the case of Dubai and tourism in the case of Phuket. Dubai has spent the last 25 years adjusting it´s economic model so that today only 3-5% of it´s revenue comes from oil. The remaining 95% is generated from tourism, real estate, aviation, free zones, logistics and trading.

A Free Trade Zone is a selected area of a country where business taxes and fees are dropped and bureaucratic requirements are reduced to attract new business and foreign investment and are regarded as one of the best ways to stimulate an alternative or new economy often in developing countries.

Phuket is thought to be an ideal location for a Free Zone as it has established International schools, excellent healthcare facilities and good infrastructure together with a wealth of real estate opportunities and superb sporting facilities, such as world class golf courses and marinas. Many overseas investors looking for Free Zones to establish new branches for their companies consider lifestyle to be a top priority when deciding on the exact location.

A Free Zone would provide Phuket with an immeadiate alternative income stream which would, in turn, create employment opportunities and additional revenue for customs, immigration and security services. It would also serve to increase local exports such as rubber, tin and tropical fruits which would benefit the local manufacturing industry in Phuket.

The next step for these proposals is to conduct a detailed Impact Assessment and to address the concerns of the local community. This will then be put before the Thai government for their approval.






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