Ministry of Industry looking for closer ties in the 17 northern provinces
BoI behind the plan
Minister of Industry Pinit Charusombat chaired a meeting
to discuss how to bring good cooperation for the development strategy of 17
Northern provinces particularly for investment project promotion.
Sompong (left) and Minister Pinit (right) at the meeting at the Imperial Mae
Ping Hotel Chiang Mai.
This cooperation was very important, as it could help
stimulate the North to create up to 50,000 new entrepreneurs, said the
minister at the press conference held at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel in
Sompong Wanapha, the secretary-general of Board of
Investment (BoI), added that they need to map out the northern strategy, to
have the same direction, mission and vision.
He said that investment last year was around 300 billion
baht, but more than 90 percent of this was in the central and Eastern
Seaboard regions. Only three percent came to the north, he said. This was
despite the low cost of investment, an area rich in raw materials, and an
easily available workforce. Participants included officials from the
Ministry of Industry, provincial chambers of commerce, provincial
federations of Thai industries, research institutes, universities, private
sectors, financial institutes, and SME development institutes.
Secretary-General Sompong added that more links with
Burma, which is rich in furniture, wood, jewelry, and tourism, are expected
as well as with Vietnam which is abundant in agro industry, cold storage,
seafood, mining and tourism sectors.
Minister Pinit noted that for tourism promotion, many 5
star hotels need to cope with the increasing demands in the market, adding
that as many 10 private investors have asked for BoI promoted hotel
projects, including spa services in Chiang Mai.
From now on, it is likely that the new investment
projects in the North will be such as the IT City, software development and
production, while the old industry investments, like agricultural food
processing, handicrafts, ceramics, textiles, machineries, agricultural
products, packaging, and other creative industries including souvenirs and
gifts will slow.
Minister Pinit said that these industrial and investment
projects in the North must be developed for the export market, as our
Chiang Rai trading well with its neighbours
Figures show 61 percent with China
Chiang Rai’s trade performances with neighboring
countries last year were well up, according to Mrs Sirinart Sennan, the head
of Chiang Rai provincial Commercial Office.
She said that the free trade agreement between Thailand
and China having become effective from October 1 last year could result in
border trade expansion for both countries in terms of the export and import
The trade volume for three months from October-December
2003 alone was worth a record total of 1.6 billion baht, (of which 1 billion
baht was from exports). She said that this figure up by 33 percent compared
to the same period one year ago.
The main products under this Free Trade Area (FTA)
agreement were mostly vegetable and fruit exported through Chiang Rai
province’ border checkpoint to China worth 657 million baht which was
higher than the import figure from China which was totally 438 million baht.
Sirinart said that that Chiang Rai’s border trade
records for 2003 was in total 6.8 billion baht, up almost 30 percent in
trading with neighboring countries Southern China, Burma and Laos.
Chiang Rai’s trade hit a record high with Southern
China worth 4.2 billion baht from 3.2 billion baht previously. This figure
represented 61 percent of the total Chiang Mai trading.
Trading with Burma also increased in the same period
accounting for 27 percent of the local trading. However, Chiang Rai’s
trade with Laos was only 800 million baht and when compared to the same
period last year, which was worth almost 1 billion baht, this was a
significant 18 percent drop.
Law training for non-lawyers
‘Philadelphia lawyers’ to be trained here?
According to the lecturer Kietisak Phantawong, director
of the International Legal Counselor Office (ICO) and a member of the Human
Rights Committee, Region 5, and on the Expertise Committee of the Law
Society Region 5, the office is in Tambon Sanphranet, Muang Chiang Mai
Phantawong, director of the International Legal Counselor Office.
He told Chiangmai Mail that training courses on
knowledge of the law are also organized for the public, and it is found that
most of the participants are young students from the Mathayomsuksa 4-5
secondary school who are interested in law.
The Law Society, Region 5, has also prepared more
training courses on civil and commercial law. The topics will include loans,
quarantine, pawning, leasing, land and property, heritage, criminal law,
arrest, charge, search, bail, and a question and answer session.
The courses will be also for kamnan, village headmen,
women’s development groups, and community leaders, based on the
fundamental law handbook.
In addition, Kietisak said that the working teams are
aiming to help disadvantaged people from both Thai and foreign communities.
He said that in the past they had staged training courses
for youths to give them awareness and concern about protection of the
environment and the uses of natural resources.
This project has been initiated by the attorney council
in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Trang, the Attorney Club of Trang,
and the Rotary Cub of Chorsritrang.
Thais and foreigners who feel they have not received
justice could consult the ICO lawyers free of charge. For more information,
please contact 053 351 414 or email [email protected], or visit the
BOT still predicting economic growth
Despite bird flu, decreased tourism and lower exports
The Bank of Thailand (BoT), Northern Region Office,
predicts that this year’s economic growth is still good and is likely to
expand. According to Somsak Wongpanyathaworn, senior director of the office
here, last year’s economic growth has continued to expand into this year.
He said this is being supported by four factors,
including an increase in farmers’ incomes, consumption volumes, investment
projects and exports.
It is also forecasted that the 2004 economy will continue
its growth in general, except for the tourism sector which seems to be
slowing, but this is interpreted as being impacted by the spreading bird flu
and its crisis.
This year, the bird flu epidemic in the northern
provinces is presumed to be having a marked affect on the northern economy.
However, he said that chicken farms represent only 0.7-1 percent of the
North’s GDP, so the bird flu is of little effect.
In the vegetable and fruit trading with China, Thai
exports to China were reduced in volumes. For Thailand and China’s
bilateral trade, he noted that during the past four months, export volumes
for Thai fruits and vegetable to China was reduced by 3.6 percent, while,
the imports of goods and products from China were increased. Most of Thai
products from the Northern Thailand were mostly the dried lamyai or longan,
while imported Chinese products were deciduous fruits like plum, apple,
pear, and persimmon.
He said that the economic growth trends of last year
should continue, following the country’s low bank interest rates, and the
increased confidence among consumers, and businessmen.
“These factors have helped boost public consumption and
investment projects and when Chiang Mai becomes the aviation hub in the
Greater Mekong Sub-region this is another positive factor.”
With the much vaunted 6 percent growth of 2003 predicted to be 8 percent
this year, this is however difficult to accept when looking at the decreased
exports versus increased imports, decreased tourism, currently ascribed to
the bird flu epidemic, and shortly to be further decreased when Thailand
turns into the Cinderella country that closes at midnight, and the falsely
inflated consumerism which is debt driven. The next three months economic
indicators will be interesting.