Vol. II No. 30 Saturday July 26 - August , 2003
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BUSINESS NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

BAAC cuts lending rates for farmers

Thai economy expected to follow global growth trend

EGAT to purchase power from Laos to meet future demand

Strategies being created to boost economies of neighboring countries

OTOP products fail to meet standards

BAAC cuts lending rates for farmers

The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) said it would cut its lending rates for local farmers, as well as farmers organizations and agricultural institutes by 0.50%, taking effect as of the 1st of August.

Deputy Finance Minister Varathep Ratanakorn, who chairs the BAAC’s board, said, “The move is intended to help reduce costs for local farmers and their related institutes by a total of 1.35 billion baht annually.”

Varathep projected that the decision would benefit over 5.27 million households of farmers nationwide. (TNA)


Thai economy expected to follow global growth trend

The Thai economy is expected to continue to grow in the second half of this year, boosted by a reviving global economy. Visut Srisuphan, Director-General of the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO), who chaired the 16th Finance Ministers’ Technical Working Group Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, held in Thailand last month said, “During our discussions, representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank agreed that the world economy would gradually revive in the second half of this year. Therefore the Thai economy should continue to grow in the July-December period, as it would be boosted by the positive global trend.”

However, Visut cautioned that the world economy could also face some risks and threats, namely rising interest rates due to global economic expansion, and international terrorism. (TNA)


EGAT to purchase power from Laos to meet future demand

The government has approved a power purchasing agreement with Laos that will enable Vientiane to go ahead with the construction of the giant Nam Theun 2 dam.

Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has agreed to sign the deal with the Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) located in the Lao capital.

An EGAT official said, “Thai power demands are steadily increasing and the purchase price is cheaper in Laos than here in Thailand. The new deal will increase power supply in 17 of Thailand’s northeastern provinces from 2009, when the plant will begin providing nearly 950mw to Thailand under a 25-year arrangement. This agreement will also reduce impact on Thailand’s environment.” (TNA)


Strategies being created to boost economies of neighboring countries

The Prime Minister’s Office has announced that strategies will be drawn up aimed at expanding the economies of neighboring countries, with increased trade, investment and development assistance and will expect to see positive results in the next three years.

Spokesman for the office, Sqd. Ldr. Sita Divari said that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had called a meeting of ministers concerned with the economy to discuss border economic policies. The plans will aim at expanding the economies of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia in line with that of Thailand, as Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 5.5 trillion baht, compared to only 500 million baht in the case of Thailand’s neighbors.

The government also hopes to rectify the situation in which per capita income in Thailand is as high as 80,000 baht, compared to a mere 12,000 baht in Cambodia and 14,000 baht in Laos and Myanmar.

Policies will include a reduction in trade barriers, the transfer of technology, labor skills development, and the joint production of goods, in particular of raw materials.

The government also wants to engage in urgent talks to cut taxes, amend border control regulations and those concerning investment, end border disputes, and conduct joint research and development. (TNA)


OTOP products fail to meet standards

The government’s much-trumpeted ‘One Tambon, One Product’ (OTOP) campaign has run into difficulties with the revelation that 65 percent of the goods selected as showcase products will need modification before they can be launched onto the market.

After opening an exhibition of OTOP products from the central region, Deputy Interior Minister Pracha Maleenont, who chairs the OTOP products champion selection committee, said that while around 25,000 products had been submitted to act as OTOP showcase products, only 33 percent of them had gained 3-5 stars, indicating that they could be developed for domestic and export sales.

The remaining products had only gained 1-2 stars, signaling that they failed to meet required quality standards. The minister added that he would now submit information on the products to the production sub-committee and the standards and quality development sub-committee in order to improve the products in question.

Chaisit Hotrakit, director general of the Department of Community Development, said that once all the OTOP products had been selected, the baton would be passed on to the Ministry of Commerce to promote the marketing of the products both at home and abroad.

Over 2,700 products from 25 provinces in the central region passed the OTOP selection process, of which over 2,000 products in six categories - food, beverages, household goods and decorations, herbs, artistic inventions, and fabrics and clothing - gained 3-5 stars. A selection of 109 products from the central region have been selected by the Department of Export Promotion to be displayed at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting on small and medium enterprises (SME’s) in Chiangmai in August and the APEC leaders meeting in Bangkok in October. (TNA)



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