Storage businesses urged to prepare for AEC
BANGKOK, 17 August 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry
has urged the entrepreneurs of warehouses, silos, and cold storages to
urgently prepare themselves for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
Department of Internal Trade (DIT) Director-General Vatchari Vimooktayon
said storage businesses such as warehouse, silo, and cold storage are
vital businesses to the economic development. She explained that they
must study the changes which will eventually take place when the AEC
takes effect in 2015 in order not to be left out.
Ms Vatchari stated that the DIT has been informing entrepreneurs and
holding seminars about the AEC so as to prepare them for the changes. A
seminar was held on Thursday, targeting storage businesses urging them
to adjust their strategies to suit the upcoming AEC.
Finance Ministry introduces scripless bonds
BANGKOK, 17 August 2012 (NNT) - The Finance Ministry
has introduced the scripless bonds to the public to facilitate the
purchase of bonds. The new bonds will be on offered at four commercial
banks from September 3-14.
Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) Director-General Chakkrit
Parapuntakul has revealed that the scripless bonds will be on offer as a
special government’s saving bonds, which offer a yield rate of 3.99% for
six years. The interest will be paid twice a year. The bonds to be
issued will be worth altogether 80 billion baht.
The savings bonds will first be offered to retirees at all branches and
ATMs of Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Kasikornbank, and Siam Commercial
Bank on September 3-4; they will be available to the general public from
September 5-14. Interested people may register from August 27 onwards.
Mr Chakkrit considered the 3.99% yield quite attractive given the lower
interest rates offered by local banks.
UTCC: Farmers in 100,000-baht debt on average
BANGKOK, 17 August 2012 (NNT) - A survey by the
University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) has indicated that Thai
farmers on average are in 103,000 baht debt, the highest since it has
conducted the survey.
UTCC's Center for Economic and Business Forecasting (CEBF) Director Dr
Thanawat Polvichai said that the university conducted a study on over
1,200 farmers in Thailand during August 8-12. The survey revealed that
the debt of average farmers has increased by 6.6% from last year. On
average, each farmer’s family has 103,000 debt, the highest in four
years since the university has begun conducting the survey.
Dr Thanawat speculated that the debt has a tendency to rise, adding that
it would increase by 3-5% next year. He indicated that four out of five
farmers do not want their children to work on the farm anymore because
the income is so low.
The study showed 60% of them have formal debts, which they are most
likely able to repay, while one-third of those who have informal debts
do not think they will be able to pay them off.
The CEBF Director expressed that farmers' debts is a chronic problem,
particularly the informal debt structure. Many farmers need money to
expand their farming fields in order to join the government's crop
mortgaging scheme and to recover their farms from the 2011 flood. He
urged the government to tackle the debt problems so that farmers can get
out of the vicious debt cycle.
Tourism Ministry content with Jan-Jul tourist arrivals
BANGKOK, 17 August 2012 (NNT) – The Tourism Ministry
is content with the tourist arrivals in Thailand during the first 7
months of this year.
Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa said that the 11th Thai
International Travel Fair 2012 (TITF), which kicked off on Thursday, is
intended to help boost local spending and revenue of travel business
Mr. Chumpol stated that, during January and July 2012, 12.5 million
overseas travelers have set foot in Thailand. With such satisfactory
records, the Tourism Minister is confident that this year’s tourist
arrivals will hit the ministry’s target of 19.5 million.
Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) President Suthiphong Pheunphiphop
said that the 11th TITF is carrying the theme of “Amazing Winter”, which
means the travel packages available at the fair will focus on the
holiday plans during the cool season later this year.
Mr. Suthiphong said that more than 20 million baht has been spent to
organize this event, which is expected to draw 300,000-400,000
fair-goers and bring in 300-400 million baht in travel income during the
The 11th TITF will run until this Sunday at Queen Sirikit Convention
Center from 10 am to 8 pm.
Interior Ministry to host OTOP Midyear 2012 to boost local economy
BANGKOK, 17 August 2012 (NNT) – The Interior Ministry
is set to organize a special sale event to boost domestic spending and
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyoot Wichaidit revealed
on Thursday that the Community Development Department will be hosting
OTOP Midyear 2012 during August 18th and 26th at Challenger Hall 1-3,
IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi Province.
Mr. Yongyoot said that more than 2,000 OTOP stores from across Thailand
will join in the fair, while some 120 Halal food shops will also be
present at the event.
The Deputy Prime Minister stated that the Interior Ministry is on course
to further promote Thailand’s OTOP items on the international stage,
with a special campaign which features premium-grade OTOP products
already opened at both Suvarnabhumi Airport and Chiang Mai Airport to
allow foreign visitors to get more acquainted to the creations from
Thai Industries Sentiment Index drops below 100 in July
BANGKOK, Aug 17 – The Thai Industries Sentiment Index
in July dropped to 98.7 from 102.7 in the previous month, sinking
beneath 100 for the first time in six months, said Payungsak
Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
The prolonged European economic crisis and the
slowdown of the Chinese economy have impacted Thai exports, as seen in a
drop in foreign sales.
The industrial sector faced higher production costs and labour shortages
in some industries.
July’s forecast index for the next three months stood at 104.8,
declining from 105.8 in June due to falling orders and sales.
Entrepreneurs want the government to boost border trade with
neighbouring countries and to help them access capital and soft loans
They also asked the government to negotiate an extension of customs
privileges, and the generalised system of preferences (GSP) from the US
and European Union. (MCOT online news)
Asian rubber cartel cuts production to boost prices
BANGKOK, Aug 17 - Thai Deputy Agriculture Minister
Natthawut Saikua said Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to slash
their rubber export volume and reduce rubber plantations in an attempt
to shore up sagging prices.
The measures were jointly agreed at the International
Rubber Consortium meeting in which the world's three largest rubber
producers are the members.
The three countries are responsible for about 70 per cent of global
natural rubber supply.
Rubber prices plunged 43 per cent in the past year and reached the
lowest in almost three years as growth slowed in China, the top
consumer, and Europe.
They agreed to cut their rubber export volume by 300,000 tonnes and cut
down aging rubber trees covering 100,000 rai of plantations, the deputy
Thailand, the top shipper, would cut export volume by 150,000 tonnes,
the largest reduction among the three countries. Rubber farmers will get
16,000 baht per rai in compensation, Mr Nattawut said.
"It remains to be seen how the measures will help shore up prices," he
said. "If the measures fail to lift the prices, then more measures will
be considered." (MCOT online news)
More Thai farmers in debt: UTCC survey
BANGKOK, Aug 16 - A survey by the University of the
Thai Chamber of Commerce finds that the number of farmers having
informal debts has increased.
Dr Thanawat Polwichai, Director of the Center for Economic and Business
Forecasting, University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTTC) released the
survey on the debt situation of Thai farmers.
The survey finds that their average debt was more than Bt100,000 per
household -- Bt103,047 per household -- of which nearly two-thirds, 60.9
per cent, was outstanding debt with financial institutions and over
one-third, 39.1 per cent, was debt owed to loan sharks, with the latter
increasing from the 37.7 per cent recorded earlier.
For the first group in debt to financial institutions, most farmers owe
Bt50,000-75,000 and most have the ability to pay all of their debts,
according to the survey.
Meanwhile, 15 per cent of farmers are in debt outside the system, owing
about 50,000-100,000 baht on average. In this group, 81 per cent say
they are unable to pay back their debt.
Nearly one on four debtors outside the system -- 22.4 per cent-- owe
Bt40,000-50,000, with most -- 61.4 per cent – saying they cannot settle
Comparing the latest harvest to the previous one, most farmers said that
profits, selling prices, yields, capital cost, spending and saving are
the same, reflecting that the one-year government policy on farming
product prices did not help improve farmers’ quality of living.
They still ask the government to control production costs for farmers
because they have no bargaining power.
Although their products can be sold at good prices, production costs
still high. Mortgage schemes for farm produce did not help reduce their
debts. (MCOT online news)
Thai product fair to mark Queen's birthday
NONTHABURI, Aug 15 – A trade fair to showcase Thai
products is being held this weekend to mark Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's
birthday on Aug 12 and as a platform for local producers and buyers to
make better connections.
Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol said at the opening of the event
that this year is the auspicious year of Her Majesty’s 80th birthday.
As HM the Queen has always supported Thai handicrafts, one highlight
activity includes an exhibition in her honour for her roles in
preserving and promoting Thai handicrafts and Thai silks.
The fair showcases goods with high demand in foreign markets such as
food products, beverages, furniture and beauty and health products.
Demonstrations of local cloth weaving, wickerwork and Thai music
concerts by young Thai musicians have been organised.
It is expected that the fair will attract more than 100,000 foreign and
Thai visitors including a hundred major buyers and importers from
Over Bt1.2 billion is likely to be circulated at the event.
The fair is also a platform for direct trade negotiation between Thai
local producers and buyers and importers.
The fair is being held Aug 15-19 at IMPACT exhibition and convention
centre in suburban Bangkok. (MCOT online news)
Made in Thailand Fair held at IMPACT
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry is now
holding 'Made in Thailand 2012' to showcase traditional Thai
arts and crafts at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.
Deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol presided over the opening
ceremony of the trade fair under the theme “Made in Thailand
2012": In Honor of Her Majesty the Queen’s Glorious Splendor”,
to promote Thai SME businesses in the ASEAN region.
On the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th birthday
anniversary this year, the Commerce Ministry is dedicating the
"Made in Thailand Fair 2012" to celebrate Her Majesty’s
contribution to the development of traditional Thai arts and
crafts, which have since gained recognition worldwide.
Products offered at the fair include food and drink, furniture,
clothing, health products, and electrical appliances. It is set
to be the venue for business matchups among producers,
exporters, importers, and retailers in order to push for
Thailand to be the One Stop Shopping in Asia.
The Commerce Ministry expected at least 100,000 Thai and foreign
visitors and up to 1.2-billion baht in circulation. The fair is
held at the IMPACT Convention and Exhibition Center from August
Traditional Lanna products promoted in Made in Thailand 2012
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – Traditional Lanna
products from the North have been promoted in the Made in Thailand 2012,
where a seminar and a business matching were held to give local
entrepreneurs the chance to promote their products.
Under the project Smart Trader by the Commerce Ministry, 80 traders of
traditional Lanna products in the North participated in a seminar aimed
at improving their business visions and tactics in order to promote the
traditional products to the world community. Attending businessmen were
the producers of herbal cosmetics, textiles, clothing, bags, and
processed food, from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, and Mae Hong Son.
In addition, a business matching event was held for 15 entrepreneurs to
discuss business opportunities with foreign buyers from China, Myanmar,
A representative from the Commerce Office of Lamphun said the business
matching has given a great opportunity for the Smart Trader members to
gain experience in business discussions and dealings with foreign
counterparts. He added it also helps promote Lanna products to the
The Made in Thailand 2012 is being held at the Impact Convention and
Exhibition Center from August 15-19.
Transport Ministry to push for the bidding of the Green Line electric train system at end of year
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – The Transport Ministry is set to
push for the start of one of the much-anticipated electric train
systems by the end of this year.
Permanent Secretary for Transport Silpachai Jarukasemratana said
on Wednesday that the ministry is pursuing the speeding up of
the start of the Green Line electric rail construction project
between Mo Chit and Saphan Mai, which has been delayed for more
than 2 years.
Along with this push, the Transport Ministry is set to extend
the route to Khu Khot in Pathum Thani Province.
Mr. Silpachai said that all related agencies are preparing to
propose the revamped project to the Office of Natural Resources
and Environmental Policy (ONEP) for a review, before presenting
it to the Cabinet for consideration.
If all goes as planned, it is expected that the bidding will
start as early as the end of 2012 and no later than the
beginning of 2013, with the construction likely to be completed
The Permanent Secretary for Transport said that the construction
of the extended part of the Green Line train system between
Saphan Mai and Khu Khot is expected to start in 2015.
When completed, the Green Line rail system is believed to help
ease traffic congestion around Saphan Mai area considerably
while making it more convenient for all who live in Rangsit to
commute to the center of Bangkok.
Thailand-Chile now on Sanitary and Phytosanitary cooperation
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – Thailand has entered
into an agreement with Chile to collaborate on Sanitary and
Phytosanitary, in hopes of more opportunities to promote Thai farm
products in South America.
Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut revealed on
Wednesday that he has held talks with Chilean Agriculture Minister Luis
Mayol Bouchon about agricultural cooperation between the two countries.
He said that both also signed two MOUs; one on agricultural cooperation
and the other on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS).
Mr. Theera said that both MOUs highlight tighter ties and an expected
increase in agricultural and agro-industrial investment between both
He stated that the closer relations also mean an opportunity to boost
bilateral trade of rubber, canned food and processed food from Thailand.
TCT: Travel business sentiment slightly below average in Q3/2012
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – The Thai Tourism Council has
revealed that business sentiment in the third quarter of this
year has fallen slightly below average.
Chairman of Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) Kongkrit
Hiranyakit said on Wednesday that that the travel business
operators’ sentiment index in the third quarter of 2012 was at
92, which is lower than normal.
Mr. Kongkrit said that the slight drop in the sentiment
reflected worries over local economic conditions and the trend
of rising production and living costs in the country.
However, he said that travel business entrepreneurs still found
some positive factors to shore up their confidence. They include
the country’s more convenient travel experiences, improved PR
activities, and continued development of tourist destinations.
He added that 47 percent of surveyed business operators believed
that supportive state policies will effectively boost travelers’
demand, while 42 percent asked for state push to improve the
reputation of Thailand’s travel industry.
In addition, 46 percent of people who answered the survey
suggested that the private sector should be more informed about
the goings-on, with another 40 percent calling for locals to
take active part in the travel industry.
However, Mr. Kongkrit is concerned that there have been no
clear-cut policies from the government in helping boost the
country’s tourism revenue to 2 trillion baht by the year 2015.
Culture Ministry to spend more than THB80mil in the restoration of Wat Arun Stupa
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – The Culture Ministry’s
inspection of the damage at Wat Arun in Bangkok, induced by
continued heavy rain, found that the restoration cost could be
in the tens of millions of baht.
Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome, on Wednesday, inspected the
damaged stupa of Wat Arun, which was caused by the recent,
continued heavy rain.
Mrs. Sukumol has instructed the Department of Fine Arts to
conduct a thorough check on every structure of the famed temple
since some damage was reported last year. A restoration project
was earlier set to take place in 2014.
However, the latest damage led the Culture Minister to order the
work to begin by the end of August, with an initial budget of
more than 500,000 baht.
Another round of full inspection at the temple to pave way for a
major renovation, expected to cost no less than 80 million baht,
is set to take place after the initial repair work is completed.
The Culture Minister said that parts of the stupa will be
covered while the restoration is in progress in order to keep
tourists away from possible injuries.
She added that a system will be installed on the temple’s ground
to measure any tremor activity, which may hit the surrounding
BoT to discuss ways to cope with European crisis
BANGKOK, 16 August 2012 (NNT) – The Bank of Thailand
(BoT) is prepared to hold an annual seminar in September to discuss its
roles and responsibilities in coping with new global economic
BoT Assistant Governor Paiboon Kittisrikangwan revealed that the central
bank will hold its annual seminar on the roles and duties of the Bank of
Thailand amidst global changes, on September 24-25 at the Bangkok
Convention Center, Centara Grand Hotel.
Mr Paiboon said the global economic crisis has forced many central banks
throughout the world to do unprecedented actions that later prompted
public suspicions towards the appropriateness of their actions as well
as their scope of duties and responsibilities.
He added that more questions were raised concerning the bank’s freedom
and procedures, adjustment to the changing world and environment,
monetary policies to cope with inflation, and many others. He said all
of these questions will be answered by economic and financial experts
with ideas being exchanged during the meeting.
LPG to increase by 25 satang, effective August 16 onwards
BANGKOK, 15 August 2012 (NNT) – The National Energy Policy
Committee has decided to raise the LPG price for the
transportation sector by 25 satang per kilogram, effective on
August 16th onwards.
Energy Minister Arak Chonlatanon has revealed that the National
Energy Policy Committee has agreed to lift the LPG price for
transport from 21.13 baht to 21.38 baht per kilogram, after the
global liquid petroleum gas (LPG) price has been raised to 775
US dollars per ton.
As for the LPG for cooking, Mr Arak said it would remain at
18.13 baht per kilogram. The committee also decided to maintain
the NGV price at 10.50 baht per kilogram, pending the study of
the new price structure.
Thailand to foster tangible rice market cooperation within ASEAN
BANGKOK Aug 14 – The Thai government is trying to foster active
cooperation among rice producers within Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, said Yanyong Puangrach,
Permanent Secretary for Commerce.
Initially, the marketing mechanism will be divided into three
levels – ministerial, cooperative committee and rice trader
federation levels, said Mr Yanyong.
The Department of Foreign Trade met twice with the rice miller
federation and rice traders.
In the next meeting, relevant ministers of rice producer
countries – Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand --
will be invited to meet to consider establishing a tangible
cooperative mechanism in rice market operations.
Such cooperation will also pave the way for more cooperation in
food security and energy among the ASEAN bloc and the Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) in the future.
Thailand will cooperate with Cambodia to increase Cambodia’s
efficiency in rice production.
The commerce ministry sent trade and investment representatives
to negotiate with Cambodian businesspeople in Siem Reap,
Battambang and Phnom Penh Aug 14-17 to boost exports and border
trade in the sub region and to facilitate Thai investments in
the neighbouring country. (MCOT online news)
Taxi co-op network petitions Agriculture Ministry on higher energy prices
BANGKOK, Aug 13 – Some 300 members of Thailand's taxi co-op
network on Monday petitioned the Agriculture and Cooperatives
Ministry asking for assistance to cooperate with Transport and
Energy Ministries to tackle higher energy prices affecting more
than 75,000 taxis.
The letter from Witoon Naewpanich, leader of the Siam Taxi
Co-operative, to Agriculture Deputy Minister Nattawut Saikua was
endorsed by more than 300 taxi operators concerned about the
high cost of fuel.
Mr Witoon said the taxi co-op won’t adjust passenger fares until
the end of this year despite higher NGV or LPG prices so that
passengers will not be affected.
He asked the Transport Ministry to consider extending the use of
a taxi from nine to 12 years to maximise vehicle use, which will
lead to lower taxi rental fee. The group, however, objected to
the idea of registering 1,300cc eco cars as taxis, believing
that the small vehicles cannot serve passengers efficiently.
The network also asked the Energy Ministry to consider a One
taxi co-op, and One NGV gas station project to help
entrepreneurs manage energy use.
The drivers also seek a fund of as much Bt20 million, loaned
from government financial institutions, for taxi drivers to set
up their own co-operatives to help manage members’ informal debt
among those without access to other government benefits.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Nattawut responded to the move,
saying he will speak with the Transport and Energy Ministries
tomorrow after the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile, he asked cab drivers to follow the government's One
Taxi, One Smile project, in which drivers provide their service
to passengers with smiles. The project will start next Monday.
Mr Nattawut said the taxi co-op foundation is becoming more
effective and to improve its the quality and service standard
for Thai taxis, as well as upgrade the quality of life for
drivers and their families.
He also asked the current committee to resign in order that the
foundation can be newly registered by the Cooperative Promotion
Department. A new panel of committee members is to be instated
within two weeks, composed of new or current members.
A fund raising campaign to support the foundation will be
organised, with Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister
Nattawut himself working as a cab driver on Aug 26 from 12 Noon
until 3pm. (MCOT online news)
Myanmar language teaching in Thailand's south
In the next three years, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will
come into force, and the region’s languages will be as important
A school on the resort island of Phuket in Thailand's south has
been providing Myanmar language classes to its high-school
Secondary students at Satreephuket School in the provincial seat
are paying special attention to the Myanmar classes to improve
their language skills.
Myanmar language studies as a foreign language course offering
were added to the curriculum last year, in addition to English
The school's deputy director Nattawat Pathairatanaserani said
the course wasn't very popular when it was first launched due to
some negative attitudes toward learning such a language.
However, when Myanmar started to open up its country to the
world, parents started to encourage their children more and more
to attend Myanmar classes.
"In 2015, we have to be a part of the AEC. So we should learn
other ASEAN languages. As the programme is a success, this year
we have a full class of students attending the course, from only
half a class last year," Nattawut said.
Two days a week, students get to practice reading, writing, and
speaking skills with a native teacher. The class ambiance is
Students said studying the Myanmar language is more necessary in
a tourist destination like Phuket, as there are more and more
Myanmar workers moving to the island.
Using the language for communication is for better understanding
of the Myanmar people, and it will be a good foundation for
careers in the future, as well as a good preparation for the
"There're a lot of Myanmar people in Phuket. Do I like it? Yes,
because I can get to speak with them in their language," student
Seri Rongluen commented.
"We say 'Nei kaun la?', which means 'How are you?', and they
will answer 'Kaun ba deh', meaning 'Yes, I'm fine.' The classes
we take are very practical. When we talk to Myanmar people in
their language, they are happy, smile and will ask how did we
learn it," student Nantaporn Wutticharn said.
Apart from the Myanmar language, Satreephuket School plans to
begin teaching a curriculum for the general public and to aim at
teaching the Malayu and Indonesian languages in school to
prepare the students with language strength so that they can
compete with the foreign workforce overseas who will be coming
to Thailand once the AEC takes effect. (MCOT online news)
The future of Thai rice farming: Are Thai rice farmers losing heart?
Rice farming has long been the mainstay of Thailand. Rice
farmers were once dubbed the backbone of the nation. But as a
new generation shuns taking over their ancestors' career, is
Thailand's traditional vocation under threat in the heartland of
this once agricultural country?
According to statistics from the Bank for Agriculture and
Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC) in the central province of
Ayutthaya, there are some 32,000 registered farmers. The numbers
of 'chao nah' (people of the rice fields in Thai) is declining
in this former seat of Siam's monarchs, and today most rice
farmers do not own the land they work.
Sutin Attanitee has been a rice farmer for his entire life. He’s
72 years old, but still in debt and doesn't have much land of
his own. With his minimal income, he managed to pay his
children's school tuition fees until their graduation. He said
he will continue rice farming until he can't do it any more.
Despite being proud of his own career, Sutin realised his
offspring would not want to continue his profession, for they
experienced the hardship of their father from hard work,
unstable income, and debt.
"Of course, I would want my kids to do what I do. But I don't
think they would. If you have a comfortable job, who would want
to be engaged in rice farming? I've been doing this my whole
life and I still have huge debts," Sutin said.
The Thai Rice Foundation is under Royal Patronage. Its
secretary-general Kwanjai Komes said the problem of the
shrinking number of Thai rice farmers has affected the country
in many dimensions, such as reduced rice exports and unstable
rice prices. Thailand has now lost its ability to compete in
rice exports to India and Vietnam. In the future Thailand will
also have to import rice from neighbouring countries, she
Kwanjai suggests that the government encourage using new
technology in rice farming, create new dimensions, and encourage
positive attitudes among rice farmers and the younger generation
so they understand that rice farming can be a profitable
business and not as difficult as they think.
"We have to create the ability of our rice farmers to compete,
or other people will grow rice for us, which they can. This is
something the foundation and I are very worried about. We must
find measures and solutions to the problem. We have to learn to
understand first the impact of this issue, which must be studied
thoroughly," Kwanjai emphasised.
Also expressing a warning to the country, University of Thai
Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) Economic and Business Forecasting
Center director Dr Thanawat Polwichai recently said he is
concerned there will be no more Thai rice farmers in another 10
The average age of Thai rice farmers is currently 50 years old.
They can grow rice for another decade, but their children don’t
want to continue their parents’ profession. Many rice farmers'
children sell their parents' land to investors for property
development such as housing projects and golf courses.
If the government does not start building stability for rice
farming business or for the farmers themselves, the country
could also face food security concerns, particularly as rice is
the country's main food.
"If rice farming in Thailand depends more on technology, we can
still grow a lot of rice, despite the lower number of the
farmers, and food security shouldn't be an issue. But if the
number of the farmers declines considerably along with the
number of tracts of land for growing rice, we could risk food
security here," Thanawat said.
The matter is worrying, for Thailand may now be having its last
generation of real rice farmers who depend on their labour for a
good of quality of life. When worst comes to worst, Thailand's
rice farming business in the future could possibly fall into the
hands of foreign investors, and Thai people will only be hired
as labour to do the farming.
It is a time for all those concerned to join hands to find
immediate solutions to help renew the vocation of rice farming,
as well as the well-being of Thai rice farmers so that their
smiles will always be part of our Land of Smiles. (MCOT online
Government reviewing possibilities to green-light Eco-car for taxi use
BANGKOK, 15 August 2012 (NNT) – The government is considering to
encourage taxi drivers to switch to energy-saving vehicles.
Deputy Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said on Tuesday
that the Transport Ministry is considering to introduce an
energy-saving vehicle, known as Eco-car as an alternative for
According to the current ministerial rules, vehicles used as
taxis must have the minimum engine size of 1,500 cc. However,
the Eco-car’s engine size is merely 1,300 cc.
Mr. Chadchart said that the Land Transport Department has been
assigned to conduct a feasibility study for this initiative and,
so far, it is clear that at least 2 sets of ministerial rules
are to be amended.
He added that the study also pointed out that the efficiency of
the Eco-car as taxi appears more limited than expected.
Therefore, he is now not in favor of the policy.
The Deputy Transport Minister also said that the Transport
Ministry and the Energy Ministry as well as taxi business
operators are in the middle of discussion on the proposed
extension of taxi license validity from 9 to 12 years in order
to help taxi drivers cope with rising fuel and vehicle costs and
the current economic hardship.
A meeting on the issue is set on August 16th, with the
conclusion expected within 2 weeks, said Mr. Chadchart.
The Transport Ministry’s data suggested that there are currently
104,239 registered taxis in Thailand.
Kittiratt admits corruptions found in rice-pledging scheme
BANGKOK, 10 August 2012 (NNT) – Finance Minister Kittiratt Na
Ranong has admitted that there have been reports of corruption
in the government’s rice-pledging scheme.
Mr Kittiratt said the arrest of the suspects alleged for
corruption in the rice-pledging scheme in the Northeast is a
good thing. He believed there are more corruption cases that
have not been reported. He also stated that he had never
promised that the program would totally be be free of corruption
The minister said Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has
been assigned by the Premier to help eradicating corrupt
practices in the scheme.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has earlier commented that
the Thai government’s rice-pledging program is a way to
subsidize agriculturalists which goes against the WTO’s
principle. Mr Kittiratt simply denied the allegation, saying it
does not breach the WTO's rules.
The rice-pledging scheme has been highly criticized by academics
who claim the program will cause a huge loss of up to 100
billion baht. According to them, the government has to seek 260
billion baht in loans, with around 5 billion baht interest per
year, to pay for the program. Besides, they claimed that the
project will ruin Thai rice export market, lower the Thai rice
quality, and that it is plaqued with corruption by investors and
politicians involved in the program.
Customs Dept grossed more than THB562mil from sales of confiscated cars
BANGKOK, 10 August 2012 (NNT) – The Customs Department has been
pleased with the latest sales of its confiscated cars.
Customs Department Director-General Somchai Poolsavasdi said
that the department has sold 317 out of 318 confiscated cars in
the latest public auction.
Mr. Somchai said that the seized-car auction has grossed as much
as 562.17 million baht.
He stated that a convertible 2002 Rolls Royce topped the sales
with the price of 9.2 million baht, which is much higher than
its opening price of 2.43 million baht, while a 2001 Proton Saga
was sold at the lowest price of 47,000 baht, compared with its
opening price of 45,000 baht.
The Customs Department Director-General said that the latest
auction was the first of the fiscal year 2012.
In fiscal 2011, the Customs Department organized two seized car
auctions, in which a total of 455 cars were sold for a total
amount of 655.63 million baht.
Commerce Ministry: State-initiated rice pledging program is different from WTO’s agricultural subsidies
BANGKOK, 10 August 2012 (NNT) – The Commerce Ministry has
assured that the government’s rice pledging program is not
considered agricultural subsidies, as defined by the World Trade
Permanent Secretary to the Commerce Ministry Yanyong Phuangrach
said on Thursday that the US Department of Agriculture will send
its representatives to Thailand at the end of August to inspect
the government’s rice pledging program.
Mr. Yanyong stated that the upcoming visit is intended to verify
whether the Thai government-initiated program is considered
underhanded agricultural subsidies in practice.
The Commerce Ministry’s Permanent Secretary denied such a doubt,
saying the Thai policy is intended to help boost farmers’ income
and the exports of rice without lowering the cost or meddling
with market mechanism.
He went on to say that the Commerce Ministry has predicted that
the global supply of rice in 2012 will not be sufficient to meet
the demand, as this year’s output is estimated at 465 million
tons or only 0.25 percent higher than in 2011, while the demand
is pegged at 466.7 million tons or 1.84 percent more than last
AIS, DTAC, True Move ready to bid for 3G service license
BANGKOK, 10 August 2012 (NNT) – Three major mobile service
providers, AIS, DTAC, and True Move have said they are ready to
bid for a 3G service license.
All the three providers attended a seminar on the future of Thai
3G (Third Generation) service. They said that the 3G service
will allow Thai businesses and people easier and faster access
to information, which will create more business opportunities.
They also agreed that whoever gets to provide the service should
not charge inordinately for it, as it will become burdens to
consumers in the future.
Meanwhile, a representative from the National Broadcasting and
Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has disclosed that the
Terms of Reference (TOR) for the 3G bidding will be forwarded to
the NBTC meeting for approval on August 22nd. The bidding
process is expected to begin in October.
Kittiratt: Government targets 3 economy-driving factors
BANGKOK, 10 August 2012 (NNT) – The Thai government is
determined to boost the economy by focusing on 3 economy-driving
factors and is also preparing measures to handle impact from the
world economic crisis.
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong has revealed at a debate on
the topic: “Different Perspectives, Sharing Visions for the
Capital Market”, that the government’s economic policy focuses
on 3 aspects, namely domestic consumption, private-sector
investment, and government spending. Additionally, the
government has been preparing to cope with the world economic
Mr. Kittiratt elaborated that the government has to speedily
encourage domestic consumption as well as investment.
Furthermore, the government is considering issuing saving bonds
worth 100 billion baht to offset the current budget deficit of
400 billion baht. According to Mr. Kittiratt, the bonds will be
sold to the general public, and details of the bond issuance are
expected to be concluded within 2 weeks’ time as the government
has to assess all circumstances such as the interest rate and
Thai silk festival to be held during August 10-12
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – Thai silk festival is
set to be held in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit at Suvarnabhumi
airport during August 10-12, 2012.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with Commerce Ministry and
Airports of Thailand (AOT), will be hosting the Thai silk festival at
Suvarnabhumi airport. The purpose of the festival is for both Thais and
foreigners to appreciate HM the Queen’s divine grace. The event will
take place at the departure terminal of Suvarnabhumi, from August 10th
to 12th, 2012. Bth Thais and foreigners are encouraged to participate in
this great event.
In the event, Thai silk fashion show, the highlight of the event, will
be held with ambassadors from 16 different countries and their families
joining as models in the event; which will be broadcast live all around
All the silk dresses featured in the fashion show have been designed and
created by female prisoners.
Fisheries Dept poised to maintain stability of prawn prices
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – The Department of
Fisheries is poised to continue its efforts to maintain the country’s
Director-General of the Department of Fisheries Wimol Jantrarotai said
on Wednesday that the Agriculture Ministry-initiated project to
stabilize the prices of vannamei white prawn has been well-received by
prawn farmers since it was activated in early July.
Mr. Wimol stated that there are now 900 farmers and 23 deep-freeze
storage companies participating in the project, with more than 7,700
tons of prawns traded, to date.
He added that the prices of prawn have been going up during the past
month, particularly during the end of July and the beginning of August.
The Fisheries Department Director-General said that the project is also
aimed to help small prawn farmers group up to develop their own products
for exports, which means the upgrade of product standards and more
sustained allegiance among farmers and exporters.
Mr. Wimol went on to say that the project to stabilize prawn prices has
been conceived to enable related farmers to work more collaboratively in
both production and trade, while strengthening and preparing them for
the arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
Kittiratt urges BoT to revise monetary policy
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – Mr. Kittiratt
Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has urged the
Bank of Thailand (BoT) to revise its monetary policy to promote Thai
According to Kittiratt, he wants the BOT to readjust its monetary policy
regarding Thai currency. He said the Central Bank should lower the
interest rate from 3 percent to 2.5 percent in order to trigger
investment in the country and most importantly to weaken the Thai baht,
which will result in more export of the country given foreign importers
will have a higher purchasing power when purchasing Thai products.
And since Thailand is facing a 400 billion baht deficit in the 2012
fiscal year, the government will try its best to balance the budget as
early as possible. Mr. Kittiratt added that the government will carry on
its mega investment project within this year.
Private sector asks govt to exempt VAT on imported raw materials
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – Thai private sector is
demanding that the government exempt import and value-added taxes on the
imported raw materials in order to lower production costs.
Director General Department of International Trade Promotion
NuntawanSakuntanaga disclosed after the meeting on problems and
obstacles in Thai export especially in gem and jewelry industry that the
private sector has reported problems besetting it to the Department.
Those problems are in regard to liquidity, raw materials, technology,
and labor; however, the issue they want the government to immediately
fix is the problem of tariff and VAT on imported raw materials such as
silver accessory parts and crystals. In order to cut production costs,
gem and jewelry entrepreneurs are urging the government to waive the
tariff and VAT on those imported materials.
Additionally, the entrepreneurs have asked the government to draw up
measures aimed at increasing liquidity in the industry through expport
guarantee and gems bank. The Director added that the Department is
holding a meeting to discuss rules and conditions of the Gems Bank,s
loans to the Thai SMEs.
Thais urged to be aware of intellectual rights in other ASEAN nations
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – The Department of
Intellectual Property (DIP) has held a seminar on intellectual property
right registration process in Vietnam to make Thai entrepreneurs aware
of intellectual rights in other ASEAN nations.
Ahead of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in
2015, several organizations have been holding many activities and
seminars to prepare Thai businesses for the AEC. The DIP has cooperated
with other intellectual property departments in ASEAN nations to inform
entrepreneurs of property rights situation and registration process in
Intellectual law in Vietnam is the first being introduced to Thai
businesses. DIP Director-General Patchima Thanasanti said the laws of
other ASEAN countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Brunei will also be introduced in
According to Ms Patchima, said with the knowledge exchange, Thai
entrepreneurs will understand intellectual laws in other countries when
they invest abroad to avoid misunderstanding.
The seminar is also hoped to help investors benefit from the knowledge
of other countries' intellectual property rights laws . Ms Patchima
believed the program will also reduce import and export of products with
copyright infringement, and, at the same time, increase intellectual
property right registration by 15-20 percent per year.
Office of Agricultural Economics expects 3.8%-4.8% growth in agricultural industry
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – The Office of
Agricultural Economics (OAC) is expecting a growth of 3.8 to 4.8 percent
in the agricultural industry due to a rise in the production of
Mr.Apichart Jongskul, Secretary-General of the Office of Agricultural
Economics has revealed that the growth tendency in the agricultural
sector will be between 3.8 and 4.8 percent in the second half of 2012,
because outputs of major cash crops are on the rise while Thailand’s
rivals are encountering natural threats.
However, Thailand’s agricultural production still has a risk of natural
disasters and variable weather conditions, as well as several sensitive
foreign factors, including the US economy and the Euro-zone debt crisis
which could have a huge impact on the Thai agricultural industry.
Mr. Apichart added that the agricultural economic growth in the first 6
months of the year rose 2.9 percent from the same period of 2011, even
though Thailand had to face problems of flood and drought.
Organizer expects 50,000 cars sold at Motor Expo in December
BANGKOK, 9 August 2012 (NNT) – The organizer of the
Thailand International Motor Expo 2012 expects to sell up to 50,000
vehicles during the event in December, after the government gave a nod
to the extension of the “First Car Buyer” policy.
To be eligible for the tax deduction, first car buyers can order a new
car any day until December 31st this year; the government, meanwhile,
has recently extended indefinitely the car delivery date, given a huge
backlog of orders delays the deliveries.
Kwanchai Papatpong, Organizer of the Thailand International Motor Expo
2012 ,said the government’s move to extend the car delivery period will
contribute positive result to the event this year. He has revised the
previously targeted number of cars sold from 35,000 cars sold in the
event to 50,000 cars, adding that the number of visitors to the event
could reach 1.7 million.
Mr Kwanchai anticipated a 20-25% increase in auto sales in the event
this year compared to last year's, during which the nation was
recovering from flood devastation.
The Thailand International Motor Expo 2012 will take place from November
29th-December 10th, 2012 at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani.