Thailand is poised to place its economic growth aboard a $60bn high-speed train project which could help drag the Asian country out of the middle-income trap.
“The infrastructure investments will not only increase GDP by an average of 1% per year but also create 500,000 jobs,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said recently. The Finance Ministry has predicted the trains will help lift the country out of the middle-income trap – in which a country’s economy stagnates before it becomes wealthy – by 2020.
The railways project is also expected to cut national fuel costs by 300bn baht ($10bn) a year and create new domestic trade routes.
It would eventually link Thailand to China via a $7bn high-speed railway planned through landlocked Laos, and through Malaysia to Singapore.
According to the initial plan, the high-speed tracks will be built parallel to existing rails operated by the state railway authority from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Hua Hin and Pattaya.
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