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