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Finance Ministry objects to gold trading controls

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance does not agree with a central bank proposal to control gold trading in the domestic market, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said last week.
The concurrent finance minister said the Finance Ministry years ago revised domestic gold trading regulations in accord with the global market and it would not be necessary to revise the controls again.
Gold is an asset equivalent to currency and its price scales up when currencies weaken, said Kittiratt.
The Bank of Thailand, in its proposal to the Finance Ministry, expressed concern about gold speculation which could negatively impact currency exchange and the country’s trade balance, leading to a current account deficit.
Kittiratt said a big import of gold could strengthen the baht but it did not frequently happen, and free trade of gold should be allowed as some people buy gold as their savings.
Regarding a proposal to set up a futures market for gold, he said related agencies would have to discuss the issue since gold trading is conducted in many different forms and locations.
The public sector is willing to support and look after investors, he said. (MCOT)


Professional services from qualified people

Timothy Lock and Craig Muldoon of PFS visited Chiang Mai on September 30 and October 1, they plan on returning in November for a further visit.

Shana Kongmun
A recent visit by Platinum Financial Services (PFS) gurus Timothy Lock and Craig Muldoon was quite enlightening. As an American I am well aware of the difficulties in having my money in a Thai bank and that many local banks will not open a new time deposit account for me because of American regulations requiring reporting. What I wrongly assumed was this kind of reluctance to take my business was widespread and that it spread beyond Thai banks.
Craig quickly corrected this assumption stating that they have accounts in overseas banks, mainly Jersey and other offshore accounts favored by the British, that will accept Americans and that they actually have some packages tailored specifically for Americans looking to save on taxes and keep their money overseas. Given the state of things today in the U.S. this might be something more people should be looking into!
Another thing I learned tonight was that not all Financial Advisers are created equal. PFS is an international company headquartered in Hong Kong with branches in Moscow Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok and Pattaya. Between the two men I sat with over 50 years of combined experience in the financial industry. As Craig pointed out, because they are headquartered in Hong Kong they are bound by the regulations of their corporate parent which follows Hong Kong laws which bear a closer resemblance to U.K. law than it does in Thailand.
Craig said that despite the fact that he now works in Asia he studied and passed all the regulatory tests in the U.K. “A good adviser never stops learning,” he pointed out, noting that new tax regulations are always coming into play and that global financial challenges and changes require constant updating.
Craig pointed out that there is a lack of knowledge in regards to tax laws for many pointing out an example, he said for instance some British people believe that if they are out of the country for more than 5 years they are no longer in the system. He noted that while that is true for the government health care it is not true for the tax man who does expect payment on income. He added that if you die overseas your property goes into probate and any taxes owed in the U.K. will be seized.
One thing I did learn in my discussion is that Thai law is quite loose when it comes to foreign financial advisers with the main tenets of the law being that 1. They cannot advise Thai nationals 2. They cannot advise on investing in Thailand and 3. They can only advise non-Thai nationals on investing overseas. Other than that, Thai law does not require foreign advisers to have any requirements or regulations.
As Timothy pointed out, “It is important that you learn about the person you are going to before you meet. Find out where they are from, what qualifications they have, what kind of history and background does their company have.” An important point given the loose regulation by Thai authorities.


Halal Food Fair opens on Chang Klan Road

MP Tassanee Buranapakorn, is seen here with local Muslim community leaders, business people and the President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce to launch the new food fair. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce)

The Halal Food Fair opened on September 27, 2013 Baan Hor, on the side soi off Chang Klan Road in the Night Bazaar area. The Fair is promoting the foods and products of Chiang Mai’s local Muslim community and is being organized by the Office of Commercial Affairs Chiang Mai, the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, The Central Islamic Council of Thailand Chiang Mai Office, TAT, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office and The Halal Science Center Chulalongkorn University. The event was presided over by Tassanee Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai’s Member of Parliament. There were demonstrations of roti making, sales of food and other products. The plan is to hold the fair every Friday. (PR)


Elephants given love and care at conservation center in Lampang

The baby elephant in the nursery had been adopted by an older female elephant after his mother died.

Shana Kongmun
A trip out to Lampang to the government owned Thai Elephant Conservation Center is one of those things that often get put off but are worth the journey. It really isn’t that far and dedication, hard work and love that the staff feels for the elephants that have been given into their care, often due to retirement and age, is clear. They are planning on starting up a one day tour in conjunction with Elephant Parade House to give people a glimpse into the world of elephants.
The day started off with a very interesting lecture by Dr Taweepoke Angkawanith, one of the elephant vets about the history and purpose of the center, the hospital and the elephants that come to live there. Hearing from a true expert about what causes mental health problems in elephants (too small of pen, being held in an area without being given enough space, the behavior of their mahout) to health problems that come from accidents while logging, overwork at elephant camps and wounds caused by improperly cushioned chairs was enlightening. We were lucky to have renowned expert Richard Lair, advisor to the Center, who helped write the elephant care manual for mahouts and elephant camps with Dr. Taweepoke and Dr Preecha Phuangkum was a singular honor. One of the things that the Doctor and Richard pointed out was that elephants have been working for humans for a very long time but the change is that now they are viewed as a business commodity and are not treated in the same careful manner as in the old days.
Richard pointed out that elephants were commonly used for transportation of both people and goods in the not so long ago days. However, elephants were not forced to carry too heavy of a burden and were given plenty of rest along the journey. As the doctor pointed out, they cannot work 8-9 hours a day, they must eat, they must rest.
The other issues that modern day working elephants face is improper padding on the saddles, leading to sores, poor food quality, and being forced to perform dangerous tricks. Often the elephant sees their mahout change too often, or the mahout is improperly trained or not dedicated to his elephant. The dedicated mahout will take care of his elephant, my mahout said to me, make sure that she or he is well fed and well treated. The mahout to the elephant I got to spend time with, Junpen, had been with his elephant for 14 years, since he was 25 years old and their bond was clear.
The Center holds a mahout training course annually as well as operates a mobile clinic. The elephants that cannot be treated at the mobile clinics are transported to the hospital, often at great distances. One young elephant was getting treated for a splinter in his nose. Like human kids, he liked to stick things in his nose and got the piece of wood stuck.
A visit to the hospital to hear about the elephants currently in care was then followed by a visit to the nursery to meet the baby elephants, including one whose mother had died when he was very young and had been adopted by an older and loving female elephant. We also learned how elephant dung paper was made and got hands on experience on making this time consuming but environmentally friendly product. Finally, we got to meet our elephants and got lessons in directions and commands, and learned about our elephant as a true personality. Mine, I was told, was “a little bit fat and a little bit naughty”. And this I learned was true as she preferred to graze on grass on the side of the road as we made our way to the lake to bathe.
It was a great honor to be invited on this inaugural day out at the Center, to meet an elephant up close and personal, to chat with my mahout about his life and his elephant and to realize that these gentle giants are true personalities.


New direct flight to Incheon

Low cost air carrier Jin Air of South Korea plans to launch direct flights from Incheon, the Republic of Korea to Chiang Mai and has already started taking pre-order sales. Flights will be four times a week beginning October 30 and will be on an 180 seat B737-800 aircraft. Flights will depart Chiang Mai at 11 p.m. and arrive at 5:50 a.m. the next day and depart Incheon for Chiang Mai 6 p.m., arriving in Chiang Mai at 10 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.www.jinair.com.(Photo courtesy of [email protected])


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Finance Ministry objects to gold trading controls

Professional services from qualified people

Halal Food Fair opens on Chang Klan Road

Elephants given love and care at conservation center in Lampang

New direct flight to Incheon