Vol. VIII No. 8 - Tuesday
February 24 - March 2, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


BUSINESS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Thai minister, team to ask Vietnam to help stabilize rice prices

Commerce ministry campaigns against intellectual property rights violations

Government to ask retailers for 10% discount to low-income earners

Thai minister, team to ask Vietnam to help stabilize rice prices

Thailand’s Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot is scheduled to leave for Vietnam on Sunday for a three-day visit to find ways to keep rice prices stabilized.
Thai rice exporters and farmers’ representatives will accompany Alongkorn during the visit which is also aimed at strengthening relations between the two neighboring countries.
Both countries now export more than 50 percent of the total global rice demand, or approximately 15 million tons.
But rice prices on the world market moved with considerable volatility last year, and the average price this year stands at between US$600-700 per ton. Vietnamese rice stands at the average price of US$400 per ton which is almost similar to Thai rice.
The Thai Commerce Ministry believes that the appropriate price for rice should be at about US$700 per ton, which could also help support higher domestic prices in the two countries and benefit farmers. (TNA)


Commerce ministry campaigns against intellectual property rights violations

Thailand’s Commerce Ministry on Saturday launched a campaign, urging the public to stop buying goods which violate intellectual property rights as the kingdom is optimistic that the United States will upgrade it to its Watch List instead of the current Priority Watch List.
Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot presided over the campaign kick-off held at two major Bangkok shopping centres - Siam Square and Central World - and informed shoppers that the government places violations of intellectual property rights high on the national agenda.
A committee has been formed with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as chairman to make sure that serious suppression is enforced while Ministry of Commerce officials are scheduled to visit Washington in mid-March and hold talks with American officials on Thai progress in prosecuting violations of US intellectual property rights.
The upcoming visit coincides with American officials having compiled updated reports for use of relevant agencies in April whether it should upgrade Thailand in accordance with Section 301 of the US Trade Act.
Also, the campaign comes at the time when the ministry finds that the value of Thai movie production accounts for about Bt130 billion annually but producers suffer huge losses due to counterfeited DVDs and CDs available on the market.
The ministry has set as its target to reduce counterfeited CDs by as much as 90 percent within three months by also asking genuine CD producers to lower the prices on copyrighted products to persuade consumers to buy copyrighted products. (TNA)


Government to ask retailers for 10% discount to low-income earners

Thailand’s government will ask major retailers and mall entrepreneurs to offer a 10 percent to low-income earners (less than Bt15,000 monthly) who receive financial assistance from the government, Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu said on Thursday.
Talks between government officials and the entrepreneurs will be held soon and the latter will be requested to offer the 10 percent discount to low-income earners who will each receive a government cheque worth Bt2,000 as part of its stimulus package, Korbsak said.
The discount, if approved by retailers and mall entrepreneurs, will also stimulate buying and spending, affecting the overall economy, he said, expressing optimism that there should not be a problem because malls usually organize discount promotional activities on a regular basis.
More than nine million people are entitled to receive the Bt2,000 government assistance and it is expected that cheques could be sent out to low-income earners beginning March 26. The process would be completed within two weeks, Korbsak explained.
The expense involved in delivering the cashier’s cheques are estimated at Bt40 million, he said.
Concerned government agencies, meanwhile, are now preparing medium- and long-term economic stimulus measures along with government expenditures for the 2010 fiscal year, starting October 1, according to Korbsak.
Next Tuesday, the Cabinet will consider a budget for Fiscal 2010 which is expected to remain in deficit in order to stimulate the economy. (TNA)



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