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ASEAN Grid project gets green light

Local auto industry forecasts growth of 70 percent

Tesco-Lotus gives nod to Thai local products

Government tax collection expected to hit highest level in 88 years

ASEAN Grid project gets green light

Prutichai Chonglertvanichkul, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s (EGAT) assistant director for system planning and transmission recently announced that Thailand is ready to go ahead with the development of the ASEAN Grid project.

Prutichai said, “The AEAN Grid is a power pooling project that will link key regional power generation sources to needy neighboring countries. Local power plant operators can bring in bulk revenues from selling their power to the project, while neighboring countries that need power would no longer need to spend enormous amounts of money to build new power plants. The project is an attempt to integrate the power generating industry in the region.”

The project would divide the electricity transmission linking areas into two zones. The western zone would be comprised of Indo-china, Thailand, Malaysia, and the island of Sumatra. The eastern zone would link Malaysia’s Borneo to Brunei, and the Philippines.

The first phase of the network linkage in the western zone would involve transmission lines being built to connect Cambodia and Vietnam. The next phase would involve connecting Thailand and Cambodia.

By 2008, power transmission lines would be built to connect the Nam Thuen 2 power production project in Laos to plants in Thailand and electric transmission lines would be built to connect Malaysia and Sumatra.

EGAT Governor Sitthiporn Ratanopas said, “Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia together needed 44,000mw of electricity in 2000. The amount is estimated to be valued at 710 billion baht. In 2010, the demand for electricity among these ASEAN countries is likely to go up 91,000mw, or an estimated value of 1.4 trillion baht. An investment of over 50 billion US dollars is required from ASEAN nations over the next eight years.” (TNA)


Local auto industry forecasts growth of 70 percent

Thailand expects the production of cars and pickup trucks to increase by 70 percent by the year 2006 as companies such as Honda Motors shift their plants here. The government has forecast production of vehicles to top 1 million units by 2006, from 584,951 in 2002.

During a recent auto conference Manu Leopairote, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry said, “Consumer spending is fueling Thailand’s economic growth. Low lending rates and demand for new models has driven up car sales. Production is expected to rise as more automakers such as Toyota Motors increase their capacity by shifting their plants to Thailand. Honda Motor, Japan’s second-biggest automaker, also plans to shift production of some vehicles from Philippines to Thailand.”

Thailand’s new vehicle sales rose 42 percent last month to 42,751 units, a six-month high. Toyota’s sales surged more than a third to 15,138 units, making it Thailand’s top auto company, with a market share of 35 percent. Isuzu Motors was the country’s second-biggest automaker with market share of 24 percent. (TNA)


Tesco-Lotus gives nod to Thai local products

Tesco Lotus will embrace an idea to put Thailand’s local products from the government scheme on its shelves not only in England, but also in other branches throughout the world. Sunthorn Arunanondchai, Chairman of the executive board of Ekachai Distribution System Co. Ltd. which operates the UK-based superstore in Thailand said Tesco President Sir Terry Lehey would help promote Thai local products from the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project at Tesco branches worldwide.

Sir Terry Lehey recently called on Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to discuss overseas OTOP promotion and other trade matters. Tesco has set up a specialized team to select Thai goods for selling at its overseas retail chains. The export sale amounts to 3.0 billion baht each year.

Thailand also supplies plastic bags for all branches of Tesco department store. The figure accounts for 300 baht million a year.

The prime minister asked Tesco to help improve Thai products in order to meet the world standard. (TNA)


Government tax collection expected to hit highest level in 88 years

The government’s revenues are believed to hit the highest recorded level in this fiscal year, as the SARS impact affected the government’s tax collection less than 1%, according to the Revenue Department.

Subharat Kawatkul, Director-General of the Revenue Department, said, “Total taxes collected by the department are expected to reach 600 billion baht in this fiscal year, which will end on September 30. This would set a record, making it the first time in 88 years - since the establishment of the Revenue Department - that the government’s revenues have reached this level. (TNA)