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Thai-Chinese FTA does not boost Thai exports claims customs office

Employment opportunities in southern provinces

MOE eases mandatory closure time of petrol service stations

Thais urged to protect their intellectual property rights

Thai-Chinese FTA does not boost Thai exports claims customs office

Staff reporters

Thai exports of vegetables and fruits to China on the basis of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have not increased as expected, said Winai Chimthongprasert, head of Chiang Saen Custom Office.

According to the Thai-Chinese trade statistics, Thai exports to China in the year 2003 amounted to 3.9 billion baht and for the year 2004, 4.5 billion baht, which is an increase of 16 percent. Imports through Chiang Saen Port in the year 2003 amounted to 1.2 billion baht and for the year 2004 were 1.4 billion baht.

The export of Thai products to China should have grown more than 16 percent due to the FTA, said Winai. On the contrary, the FTA had influenced traders to use Laem Chabang Port instead of the Chiang Saen Port due to some time consuming methods at the Chiang Saen Port.

Winai predicted that Thai-Chinese trade in 2005 would not grow from this year at an outstanding rate, and would even decrease.

One of Chiang Saen district’s export businesses said that since the Thai-Chinese FTA came into force on October 2003, both the Chiang Saen Custom Office and the Chiang Saen Police have not worked in harmony and there is no real one stop service center to make exporting process easier.

Employment opportunities in southern provinces

The authorities in the four southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla have announced plans to offer jobs to local residents to help solve the area’s unemployment problems after many businesses have had to close and the fall in local investment because of the continuing violent unrest.

The Thai government agreed to the job creation scheme for the three troubled provinces and five districts in Songkhla at the Cabinet meeting on November 30, according to Songkhla’s deputy governor, Suthep Komolpamorn.

Songkhla has established a task force center to recruit people aged between 18 and 30 to start work from January 1 at a monthly salary of 4,500 baht. There are 784 jobs available in the province.

In Pattani, the authorities have been accepting job applications since December 16. Workers are required to start jobs on January 1, also at a monthly salary of 4,500, the Pattani governor Cherdpan Na Songkhla said.

An official evaluation of the scheme is scheduled to be carried on until March. If the project proves to be beneficial, the local authorities will continue recruiting workers until all the 44,246 job vacancies are filled.

The Pattani authorities are also offering job training for 8,220 people and education opportunities for 16,900 students. (TNA)

MOE eases mandatory closure time of petrol service stations

All oil service stations are permitted to open for 24-hour services December 25-January 5 to accommodate people’s celebration in the New Year Festival, Energy Minister Prommin Lertsuridej announced. He said he had signed a ministerial announcement on the easing of the mandatory closure time of oil service stations and fuel trading shops, allowing them to provide services around the clock in the New Year celebration period.

The relaxation was made for convenience to people who want to return their hometown and to travel to tourist sites in the New Year Festival.

However, he said, once the festival was over, the mandatory closure period of oil service stations to save fuel consumption will be restored since the government still had huge loan burdens from capping gasoline and diesel prices since early this year. (TNA)

Thais urged to protect their intellectual property rights

The Department of Intellectual Property has drawn up plans for next year which will encourage Thais to be more inventive, while encouraging them to protect their own intellectual property rights. Khanitsorn Nawanukro, the department’s director-general, said that the goal of the new plans was to ensure that Thais registered their inventions.

The department also intends to offer training for 1,000 members of the general public wishing to draw up business plans, while coordinating with other agencies to offer training for entrepreneurs whose bids for loans have been unsuccessful.

Kanitsorn said, “The department hopes to see 30,000 products registered next year, while targeted inventors will be encouraged to seek product development loans from commercial banks.”

At a grassroots level, local producers will be encouraged to see the importance of protecting their own intellectual property rights, with the department’s mobile units traveling to the provinces to offer advice.

At a wider level, the department will encourage the creation of intellectual property networks, whose representatives will help spread information about the protection of intellectual property.

“These plans to promote and create innovation and develop Thai knowledge in various forms will encourage Thais to create new intellectual property and register their rights,” Kanitsorn said, noting that the past four years had seen an upsurge in Thais registering their products. (TNA)