DEP to organize more
The Department of Export Promotion (DEP) is expecting
more businesses will be trading internationally within three years.
Benchawan Rattanaprayoon, deputy director-general of DEP
said that the Thai government is promoting and developing businessmen,
especially exporters, to promote Thai exports abroad, particularly the OTOP
In Thailand, there are about 3,000 inter traders, divided
into groups. Group A have export volumes of 100 million baht up, Group B is
up to 10 million baht and Group C which is up to 500,000 baht, and Group D
covers those who have not yet done international trading before.
For Group D, the DEP will join with the Department of
Business Development, to help upgrade those businessmen to be savvy enough
for international trades.
She said this project started in August last year and
will run for three years, and many of the business people will be supervised
and supported by consultants on export procedures.
Thais told to prepare for
increased Chinese investment
The Chinese government has hinted that Thailand could be
the recipient of a portion of US$10 billion-worth of investment by Chinese
companies, according to the KASIKORN Research Center, which in a recently
published report called on Thailand to use its close relationship with China
to attract Chinese business and industrial partnerships.
The Chinese government’s policy of promoting foreign
investment could provide a boon for Thailand, which enjoys a close
relationship with its near neighbor. As a result, Thailand is likely to see
an influx of Chinese companies and state enterprises eager to invest in the
Various economic cooperation projects between the two
countries, notably the opening up of free trade in fruit and vegetables,
will encourage Chinese businesspeople to look for channels to enter into
joint investment projects with their Thai counterparts. This will be
particularly apparent in the agro-industrial sector and related downstream
industries, resulting in a rise in exports of these products to other
The report also noted that the development of transport
links between Thailand and other countries in the Mekong sub-region - Laos,
Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and China’s Yunnan Province - was also likely
to facilitate Chinese investment. These communications routes would also
provide transport links with other countries in the wider region, including
India, with Thailand acting as a transport and communications hub. These
transport links, whether by land, air or river, would serve to boost trade,
investment and tourism by collapsing journey times.
The research center report said that economic cooperation
among members of the Greater Mekong Sub-region was set to boost Chinese
interest in investing in Thailand, noting that businesses from China’s
Yunnan Province were already placing their money in projects in the northern
Thai province of Chiang Rai. The Thai government’s development of the
northern border region as a special economic zone was already resulting in
bilateral projects, whether in terms of transportation or tourism.
At the same time, the two countries are likely to engage
in exchanges of technology and joint research and development (R&D)
projects, thus promoting economic development in both countries and in the
wider Asian region. (TNA)
New land assessment price will benefit economy
An increase in the land assessment price by 14.44% will
benefit Thailand’s economy, rather than having negative effects, according
to the Finance Ministry.
Kitti Limsakul, assistant to the finance minister,
conceded that the new assessment price set by the Treasury Department would
more or less increase land prices. But it would help reflect the actual cost
of the economy, he stated.
He said, however, that the general public would
definitely bear higher costs of house ownership; still, the overall economy
would be balanced.
“Before the crisis, property prices were excessively
inflated without any mechanism to put a brake on them. The new assessment
price will also definitely affect entrepreneurs, but it should help reduce
speculation, which could help enhance the stability of the economy. I
believed it will also prompt commercial banks to accelerate coping with
non-performing assets (NPLs). The banks can take this opportunity to place
the assets on sale in the market, as interest rates remain low, and the
economy is still picking up,” Kitti said.
Somchai Sajjapong, Deputy Finance Ministry spokesman,
said that the new assessment price would help facilitate the
debt-restructuring process because prices which collateral debtors had
pledged with the banks would rise.
Non-performance loans (NPLs) now stand at more than 15%
of total loans in the banking system. The new assessment price should help
increase revenue earned by local administrative organizations from various
tax and fee collections. It would also enable the business sector to assess
business costs more accurately. (TNA)
Export offensive plan goes to MOC
The Department of Export Promotion has drawn up a
marketing offensive designed to boost exports by 10-12 percent, according to
department director Chantra Buronrik. Chantra said that the plan, which is
hoped allow Thailand to achieve its 2004 export target, would now be
proposed to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
On 11 January Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak
is due to chair an integrated meeting to brainstorm ideas from various
agencies involved with foreign trade, namely the Ministry of Industry, the
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Board of Investment, the
Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The private sector will be represented by the Thai
Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries and the Council of
Shipping Exporters. (TNA)
Foreign debt repaid from excess reserves
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra recently stated that he
has ordered government agencies to study the feasibility of using
Thailand’s huge volume of capital reserves to repay the nation’s foreign
The prime minister noted that Thailand’s capital
reserves were now at the extremely high level of US$42 billion. Thaksin told
government agencies to determine the most suitable volume of capital
reserves for Thailand’s economic situation, and to study the possibility
to using an excess capital to make foreign debt repayments.
“In practice, capital reserves should be around two
times higher than short-term debts. When debts and capital reserves are
calculated according to this formula, I expect that we will have an excess
of around 300 billion baht,” he said. “I have given related agencies the
policy of using this excess to make debt repayments, which will reduce
government debts to zero. Thailand will become an extremely strong nation. I
believe that none of this is too difficult, and will take around 3-4 years
to implement,” he said. (TNA)