Thai Customs Department to spend 1 billion baht on container X-ray machines
Customs Department deputy director, Ruengsak Loikulnan
recently announced that Thailand will accede to US demands to fit container
X-ray machines at Thai ports.
Ruengsak Loikulnan said, ďThe cabinet has been asked to
approve Thailandís endorsement of the USís Container Security Initiative
(CSI) and it will probably be signed sometime in June.Ē
The CSI, designed to counter terrorist threats, requires
all US trade partners to fit container X-ray machines and inform the US of
goods lists 24 hours before ships dock at US ports.
Ruengsak admitted however that the CSI was complex and
would be difficult to implement immediately, and said that Thailand would
request that the US extend the deadline for its enforcement by another six
months in order that the Customs Department could prepare personnel and
The department is currently selecting a company to
provide the five machines, which are expected cost around 1 billion baht.
The deputy director of the Customs Department said that
while the CSI would be a financial burden to both the department and to
exporters, it would also help boost relations with the United States.
At the same time, the permanent presence of US officials
at Laem Chabang Port will facilitate the inspection of export containers,
which in turn will help reduce damage to Thai exports waiting for inspection
at their destination.
Siam City Cement sees revenue growth due to increased prices
Siam City Cementís CEO Vincent Bichet recently voiced
optimism about the companyís sustainable growth. Siam City Cement is the
nationís second largest cement producer. ďThe company is likely to see
sustained revenue growth this year, but just how much is remains to be
seen,Ē Bichet admitted.
Bichet said he expects the company to retain its 28
percent market share. He said although domestic demand for cement may not
show any sharp improvements, during the second quarter his companyís
performance would be relatively good as cement prices have improved to 1,700
baht per ton, against about 1,500 baht per tons during the same period last
Thailandís domestic demand for cement during last year
stood at about 22.3 million tons. However, improved economic recovery may
see demand to rise to nearly 23 million tons this year.
Bichet added that the essentials for growth are in place
but explained that the main driver for cement consumption in Thailand is the
private sector. He stressed that low interest rates coupled with pent-up
demand in the residential housing sector has accounted for about 80% of
domestic consumption. (TNA)
Thai companies queue up
to help rebuild Iraq
According to the Thai Federation of Design and
Construction Businesses (TFDCB) Thai construction and design companies are
flocking to bid for contracts in the reconstruction of Iraq, with
delegations already in Iraq to check out new Middle Eastern markets.
TFDCB president Wiboon Sriprasert said private sector
companies from the design and construction sector have joined together with
public sector trade representatives to assess the post-war Iraqi market.
While conceding that Thai companies did not have the
advantages of their US and UK counterparts when it came to the bidding
process for development contracts, he expressed confidence that
opportunities for Thai companies to take over small-scale operations from
larger companies were high.
Wiboon said that Iraq will also need roads, food,
clothing, and medicine, which would present good opportunities for Thai
Meanwhile Phayao Sukmak, director of the Department for
Export Promotionís service business division, said that the division will
push for local design and construction companies to work in the development
Thai companies already earn several million baht each
year from design and construction contracts in the region, and Thailand has
built a good reputation for itself.
Industrial sector worried about strong baht
Santi Wilassakdanont, vice-president of the Federation of
Thai Industries (FTI) recently stated that the stronger baht will most
likely push Thai export prices higher, though it will help reduce prices of
imported raw materials, especially oil products.
The FTI is concerned that the confidence index of the
Thai industrial sector could fall from its pervious 95.5 points measured in
April of this year. Manufactures fear that a stronger baht will make
Thailandís exports less competitive in the market.