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BUSINESS 
 

Finance Ministry elated by rocketing tax collection

BANGKOK, Dec 22 – Thailand’s revenue from tax collection in the first two months of the 2013 fiscal year, or October-November, reached Bt321.2 billion, or 8.5 percent higher than the target, mainly due to the government’s policy of tax refunds for first-car owners, the Finance Ministry announced.

Somchai Sujjapongse, director general of the Fiscal Policy Office, said the collection of excise tax from first-car purchase was Bt5.89 billion or 58.3 per cent higher than expected, while the expansion of domestic consumption has contributed to Bt5.66 billion or a 10.2 percent increase in the collection of value added tax (VAT) from the original target.

Revenue from the government sector was Bt4.1 billion higher than targeted, while state enterprises contributed Bt1.8 billion more than anticipated.

Mr Somchai said the state coffer also received Bt1.65 billion from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and Bt1.95 billion from the Communications Authority of Thailand or CAT Telecom.

The Finance Ministry received revenue from CAT Telecom much earlier than the expected delivery of May next year, he said.

He said the country’s economic growth and the positive signals of global economic recovery have boosted the Finance Ministry’s confidence in achieving the targeted tax collection of Bt2.1 trillion for the 2013 budget year. (MCOT online news)


Thai Jan-Nov rice exports decrease 37% in volume, 25% in value, year-on-year

BANGKOK, Dec 21 - Thai rice exports from January through November decreased 37 per cent in volume and 25 per cent in value year-on-year, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

The January-November export volume this year reached 6.4 million tonnes valued at Bt135 billion, compared to 10.1 million tonnes at Bt178 billion during the comparable period last year.

The price of Thai rice became higher this year at US$648/tonne, a 16 per cent increase year-on-year.

Major Thai rice importers are Nigeria, Iraq, South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Indonesia, respectively.

According to the association, one reason for the reduced rice exports was that buyers ordered rice only for consumption but not to keep for stocks.

Also, Thailand now has disadvantages compared to competitors such as India, Pakistan, and particularly Vietnam, which last month lowered its rice price to US$410/tonne, the lowest in the market.

About 500,000 tonnes of rice are forecast to be exported this month alone. (MCOT online news)


Thailand to designate 2013 as anti-piracy year

BANGKOK, Dec 21 - Thailand's Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua said on Friday that the government has pledged to crack down on piracy and will set up a centre to monitor the situation, as well as designate 2013 as the Year of Intellectual Property Rights' Protection.

Mr Natthawut made his remarks following the latest report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Results of the Special 301 Review of Notorious Markets, in which this year, Thailand's Red Zones were still listed as notorious physical marketplaces of pirated and counterfeit goods.

The December 13 report mentioned 12 markets in Thailand in designated Red Zones, up from four markets last year. The list included markets in Phuket's Karon and Patong beaches, Pattaya's IT City, and Aranyaprathet's Rongklua Market.

In the capital Chatuchak Market, MBK Centre, Siam Square, the Sukhumvit area, Patpong area, Panthip Plaza, as well as other marketplaces such as Klong Thom, Baan Mor and Saphan Lek were listed.

Mr Natthawut commented that the commerce ministry has not yet been informed of the reasons and motives of such report as Thailand has continuously put effort to crackdown on piracy.

He said the ministry will convene a meeting of concerned officials before deciding whether or not Thailand will seek more clarification on the matter from USTR.

Mr Natthawut reasserted that the Thai government has clear approaches to tackle the violations of intellectual property rights and will set up a national operations centre to crackdown on piracy, as well as announce 2013 as intellectual property protection year.

Apart from the crackdown, Mr Natthawut said the education ministry will lay out an anti-piracy curriculum among Thai youth.

The minister said he has instructed concerned agencies to closely monitor piracy in designated Red Zones during the festive New Year celebrations and those who are found guilty will be prosecuted.

Mr Natthawut said the National Police Bureau, the Customs Department and Department of Special investigation made arrests in 8,416 piracy-related cases during the first nine months of 2012, with more than six million items impounded.

The minister pledged that the government will do its best to make the United States remove Thailand from the Priority Watch List which is due to be announced in April next year. (MCOT online news)


Labour ministry seeking cabinet approval to legalise 300,000 illegal migrant workers

BANGKOK, Dec 20 - Thailand's Ministry of Labour plans to seek cabinet approval to endorse some 300,000 illegal migrants who failed to go through nationality verification process.

Permanent-Secretary for Labour Somkiat Chayasriwong said the deadline of the nationality verification process set by the Thai government has passed but there are still about 300,000 illegal migrants workers who have not been through the process.

The government earlier extended the nationality verification procedure which ended in June to December 14 to verify the nationality of migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao before registering them to work in Thailand.

Nationality verification is significant in solving the problem of illegal foreign labour employment.

Mr Somkiat said the labour ministry is now drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the three neighbouring countries to issue temporary passports for the migrant workers whose nationalities have not yet been verified so that they will have legal status in the kingdom.

As of now, the Lao PDR and Cambodia agreed with the idea, said Mr Somkiat, adding the ministry is discussing with the Myanmar authorities on Friday on the matter.

Mr Somkiat said the issue will be proposed for Thai cabinet approval early next year. The employers will be required to send the names of employees whose nationality has not yet been verified to the ministry within a one month timeframe.

He said all the process will be complete within three months from sending the name list. The illegal migrant workers are obliged to collect their temporary passports at the locations determined by their country of origin, such as Lao migrant workers, who will have to cross a border to get their passports, while the Cambodians can collect their passports at the embassy in Bangkok. (MCOT online news)
 


Bt600 billion cash in reserve for New Year’s holiday

BANGKOK, Dec 21 – The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has reserved Bt600 billion (US$20 billion) in banknotes of various denominations for this month’s holiday season, it was disclosed.

According to the BoT’s forecast, commercial banks in Thailand will have a greater demand for cash in December, as the month filled with holidays.

Commercial banks are expected to withdraw Bt290 billion (US$9.6 billion) in cash and deposit Bt169 billion (US$5.6 billion) in December.

This year’s circulating cash totals Bt1,331 billion (US$44 billion) – a 7 per cent increase from last year.

Bangkok Bank said it will reserve an additional Bt40 billion (US$1.3 billion) cash between December 29 and January 1 for 7,600 ATM outlets nationwide.

Customers can also withdraw cash from more than 200 Bangkok Bank’s micro branches located in shopping complexes during the period.

According to Kasikorn Bank, its cash reserve at 7,529 ATM outlets during the New Year’s holiday will be Bt34.5 billion (US$1.15 billion).

CIMB Thai said it has reserved Bt1.3 billion (US$43 million) for over 500 ATM machines nationwide.

Commercial banks will reopen on January 3. (MCOT online news)


November Industries Sentiment Index highest in 5 months

BANGKOK, Dec 20 – The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI) rose from 93 in October to 95.2 in November, the first positive sign in five months, a senior industrialist said today.

Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the higher TISI is attributed to purchase and sales orders, production volume, capital cost and financial performance.

He, however, pointed out that a TISI below 100 reflects an unsatisfactory level of manufacturers’ confidence.

The index on purchase and sales orders was above 100 which showed industrialists’ confidence on expanded demand in various sectors including automotive, construction, food, electrical appliances, electronics and energy, Mr Payungsak said.

He said TISI in the next three months is forecast at 99.6.

The export index improved in November thanks to increased order from overseas for the holiday season while negative factors which impacted manufacturers’ confidence were the global economic situation, domestic political uncertainty, higher production cost due to increased expense on raw materials, energy and the minimum wage increase to Bt300/day from Jan 1, the FTI chairman said.

Thai industrialists urged the government in November to enhance cooperation with neighbouring countries to pave the way for small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand to increase export and service to those countries before the ASEAN Economic Community materialises in 2015, he said.

Thai SMEs which will be severely affected by the Bt300 minimum wage implementation need urgent assistance to stay competitive in the market while the government should develop skilled labour to cope with more sophisticated industrial production, he said. (MCOT online news)


World Bank paints improved economic future for Thailand

BANGKOK, Nov 22 – Thailand’s Amata B. Grimm Power Group plans to invest over Bt 50 billion (US$1.6 billion) to build 10 more power plants to cope with augmented foreign investment after the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

The group, a subsidiary of the B. Grimm conglomerate, currently operates three power plants in Amata industrial estate in Chonburi and one in Amata City Bien Hoa industrial estate near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Two more plants at Amata industrial estates in Chonburi and Rayong are under construction.

With the 10 additions, Amata B. Grimm Power will have a total of 16 electricity power plants.

Priyanart Sunthornvata, chief operating officer of Amata B. Grimm Power, said the independent power production group is ready to fulfill domestic industrial expansion given liberalised trade in the Southeast Asian region in 2015 and to alleviate the burden of the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) which supplies power to more than 800 industrial plants nationwide.

To satisfy foreign investor demand, the country’s transportation system, facilities, infrastructure and electricity supply must be ready, she said, insisting on the urgency to expand power plants to feed the industrial sector.

The group currently produces 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity under a Small Power Producer (SPP) purchase agreement with EGAT. The remaining electricity and steam are sold to about 300 plants in the three industrial estates.

The 10 new power plants are scheduled for completion in 2019. The 16 plants will have a combined production capacity of 2,000 mw to be supplied to over 800 industrial plants in six industrial estates, Ms Priyanart said.

EGAT Governor Suthas Patamasiriwat said domestic power consumption has been rising rapidly for several years, particularly in the industrial sector.

Thailand’s power demand reached its peak of 26,121MW on April 26 this year, an increase of 9.3 per cent from the previous year and it is predicted that the demand will be greater to 26,950 MW next year, he said, adding that the nation’s electricity demand will be as high as 53,000 mw in 2010.

The multiplied power demand has compelled the Energy Ministry to ensure sufficient power supply through several means: production by EGAT, purchase of power from domestic and foreign producers and encouraging production by independent and small power producers. (MCOT online news)


World Bank: Rice pledging scheme a heavy burden for Thailand

BANGKOK, Dec 19 – Thailand’s financial loss from its two-year rice pledging scheme should reach Bt247 billion (US$8.2 billion), or 1-1.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), a World Bank economist said today.

Kirida Bhaopichitr, the bank's senior economist for East Asia and the Pacific, said the Thai government’s rice pledging expenditure for the 2012-2013 harvest season will be Bt432 billion ($14.4 billion), or 3.8 per cent of GDP – an increase from last year’s Bt376 billion ($12.5 billion), or 3.4 per cent of GDP.

The final loss will not be known until the government sells the rice in its stockpile, she said.

The government has posted a loss of Bt115 billion ($3.83 billion) last year, while the loss in the new harvest is projected at Bt132 billion ($4.4 billion), she said.

Dr Kirida said the government’s rice pledging price is 50 per cent, or $200/tonne, higher than current global prices, adding that the price of 5 per cent white rice will probably drop from $550/tonne this year to $520/tonne next year.

She urged the government to spend the national budget on improving the productivity and quality of rice which will consequently increase the total yield.

According to the 2000-2010 data, Thailand’s rice yield was 2,877 tonnes/hectare – the lowest compared to Vietnam (4,834 tonnes/hectare), India (3,103 tonnes/hectare) and Myanmar (3,757 tonnes/hectare).

The World Bank economist said Thailand's minimum wage adjustment to Bt300/day, to be effective nationwide January 1, will increase the overall minimum wage by 22.4 per cent from this year, which is extremely high compared to an increase at only 2.5 per cent in the past. She called on the government to improve the quality of Thai skilled labour.

She said the government’s economic stimulus projects at 5.4 per cent this year and 2.4 per cent next year will motivate domestic consumption.

However, financial spending for most of the projects are made through state financial institutes which will have to bear the burden of accumulated debts, she pointed out.

She added that Thailand’s public debt situation is far from worrisome at a predicted 50 per cent next year, a 5 per cent increase from this year, due to loans for various big projects.


New vehicular excise tax rates depend on CO2 emissions, from 2016

BANGKOK, Dec 19 - The Cabinet yesterday approved a new excise tax structure to take effect in January 2016 in accord with a vehicle's quantity of carbon dioxide emissions, and 20 per cent higher excise taxes on luxury motorbikes and motorcycles to take immediate effect.

The Finance Ministry earlier asked the Cabinet to agree to an equitable solution to the tax structure's distortion, for fairness in tax collections, and to support the automotive industry.

The new excise tax structure is divided into seven types according to the type of vehicle.

A 30 per cent tax collection will be applied to sedans and vehicles of no more than 10 seats with a cylinder capacity of no more than 3,000cc and CO2 emission of no more than 150g/km. A 35 per cent tax will be levied on emissions of 150-200g/km, and 40 per cent for emissions of more than 200g/km.

A 25-per cent tax collection will cover automobiles using E85 and natural gas and a cylinder capacity of no more than 3,000cc and CO2 emissions of no more than 150g/km. A 30 per cent tax will be applied to the emission quantity of 150-200g/km, and 35 per cent for more than 200g/km.

Hybrid cars with a cylinder capacity of no more than 3,000cc, emitting CO2 at no more than 100g/km will be taxed t 10 per cent. Those releasing carbon dioxide at 100-150g/km will be placed with 20-per cent tax, at 150-200g/km with 25-per cent tax, and at more than 200g/km with 30-per cent tax.

A 3-per cent and a 5-per cent tax collection are levied at pickup trucks with no space behind driver and with a cylinder capacity of no more than 3,250cc, releasing CO2 at no more than 200g/km and at over 200g/km, respectively.

Pickup trucks with space behind driver with no more than 3,250cc cylinder capacity and less than 200g/km CO2 emission are taxed at 5 per cent, and those with emissions over 200g/km taxed at 7 per cent.

Double cab pickups with no more than 3,250cc cylinder capacity and less than 200g/km CO2 emission are taxed at 12per cent, while those with over 200g/km emissions taxed at 15 per cent.

Twenty-five per cent and 30 per cent taxes are levied on passenger pickups with a cylinder capacity of no more than 3,250cc, releasing no more than 200g/km CO2 and over 200g/km, respectively.

The Finance Ministry will receive revenues of around Bt25 billion from excise taxes in 2016.

Meanwhile, the ministry also proposed to Cabinet raising excise taxes on imported luxury motorbikes to 123 per cent for 800-1,000cc cylinder capacity from the current 103 per cent. The new tax rate takes effect today.

The measure is expected to help the government gain more revenue of some Bt150 million. The ministry said those able to purchase such bikes are wealthy enough to pay higher taxes. (MCOT online news)


PTT elated by LPG price hike

BANGKOK, Dec 19 – The government’s suspension of its subsidy for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) resulting in a higher LPG price by Bt.50/kg/month, will benefit PTT , Thailand’s state oil conglomerate, according to an executive of the firm.

Surong Bulakul, PTT Chief Finance Officer, said the government had capped the LPG price at US$333/tonne as against global prices which are much higher.

The domestic LPG price hike will relieve the Oil Fund’s subsidy burden and reduce LPG import, he said, adding that PTT has imported 150,000 tonnes of LPG every month while the existing storage capacity is only 120,000 tonnes/month.

He said PTT needs to speed up construction of LPG storage facilities to cope with escalating demand and consumption.

PTT must also install pipelines in Thailand’s North and Northeast for gasoline and natural gas for vehicles (NGV), he said.

Regarding PTT’s foreign investment as part of preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, Mr Surong said some projects include opening filling stations in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, and investment in a coal mining project in Indonesia. (MCOT online news)


Manufacturers investment privileges near Bt1 trillion

BANGKOK, Dec 18 – Private sector applications for investment privileges in Thailand reached almost Bt1 trillion this year, a senior industry ministry official said today.

Witoon Simachokedee, Permanent Secretary for Industry, said total investment privileges submitted to the Board of Investment (BoI) was reported at Bt943 billion in the first 11 months of this year.

The BoI will adjust criteria for investment promotion and privileges next year to emphasise high technology industries rather than labour-intensive business, he said.

He said the industry ministry, aware of small- and medium-entrepreneurs’ hardship following the nationwide minimum wage increase to Bt300/day, has mapped out measures to alleviate their problems by encouraging businessmen to turn to technology and improving labour skills to supply to the local labour market.

Mr Witoon said the ministry has urged about 10,000 factories throughout the country to pay more attention to green and environmentally-friendly industries.

He made the statement after presenting awards to industrialists who won this year’s “Green Industry” campaign. (MCOT online news)


Japanese investment in Thailand unchanged despite new political leader

BANGKOK, Dec 18 – The leadership change in Japan, with ex-premier Shinzo Abe returning to power, will not have an impact on Japanese investment in Thailand, according to a high-level Thai industrialist.

Payungsak Chartsuthipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTT), said the Japanese private sector has increased their investment in Thailand with some relocating their manufacturing bases to this country in the past few years.

Many countries are interested in using Thailand as production centre to supply to Southeast Asian countries, apparently in preparations for the coming ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, he said.

Describing Thailand as the hub of Southeast Asia, he said western China with a population of 700 million is easily accessible to Thailand while land transport from Thailand to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is also feasible.

The FTT chairman predicted a favourable economic expansion for Thailand next year with an economic growth at not less than 5 per cent despite an ongoing economic slowdown in Europe and the US.

Mr Payungsak said natural disaster, internal political crisis, impact from higher minimum wage and labour shortage are risk factors impeding Thailand’s economic growth.

He said 42 industrial categories in the country have been integrated into 11 clusters to boost their efficiency and competitiveness.

Some of the clusters are rubber and rubber wood, health products, food, fashion and lifestyle products, he said, adding that each cluster has its road map for concrete development in accord with the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2012-2016). (MCOT online news)


PM visits Myanmar, inspects progress at Dawei Special Economic Zone

DAWEI, Dec 17 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met Myanmar President Thein Sein and inspected progress in developing Dawei Special Economic Zone (Dawei SEZ).

Ms Yingluck led a strong delegation, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister’s Office Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, Minister of Transport Chadchart Sittipunt, Minister of Energy Pongsak Ruktapongpisal and Minister of Industry Prasert Boonchaisuk, to follow up on the latest progress at Dawei and its related projects in Myanmar.

Upon arrival at Dawei airport, Ms Yingluck met Mr Thein Sein and thanked him for personally leading her delegation of Thai government officials and potential private sector investors to visit the site where the Dawei industrial zone and seaport will be built.

The Thai premier stressed that her government has every intention and readiness to support Myanmar in developing the project.

She said the visit would benefit the development of the Dawei SEZ and the Thai business representatives would have a better understanding of the project.

The Thailand-Myanmar Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) Development in the Dawei SEZ, co-chaired by Thai Prime Minister's Office Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan and Myanmar Industry Minister Aye Myint still have issues to be finalised including the form finance for the project, and special laws on investment promotion within the zone.

It is expected that the JCC can conclude the details of outstanding issues by February and forward details to the Thailand-Myanmar Joint High-Level committee for the Comprehensive Development of the Dawei SEZ and its related project areas (JHC) to consider and sign a new version of the Framework Agreement and Sectoral Agreement by next March.

The JHC is co-chaired by Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong and Myanmar Vice President Nyan Tan.

Thailand and Myanmar plan to start fundraising and ground breaking for the project by April.

Thai and Myamnar leaders believe that with full support from both countries, the project can achieve its objectives.

Thailand and Myanmar accept the environmental issues as important to the project.

Meanwhile, Mr Thein Sein said that Myanmar agreed to Thailand's proposal to upgrade the Dan Singkhon border pass in Prachuap Khiri Khan as a permanent border crossing point.

Ms Yingluck said the Thai government would consider financial support for a road extension project from Myawaddy-Kawkareik to Mawlamyine to form the completed network as proposed by Myanmar.

Thailand will also consider redevelopment of the former railway at Three Pagodas Pass.

As for the nationality verification for migrant workers from Myanmar, Lao and Cambodia that reached its deadline on Friday, Ms Yingluck told the Myanmar president that the government has extended the deadline for another three months to facilitate the process as many migrant workers have yet to complete the required formality. (MCOT online news)
 


'First Car' tax refunds might hit 1 million units: Finance Ministry

BANGKOK, Dec 18 - The number of cars buyers submitting tax refund requests under the government's 'First Car' scheme might hit one million units, according to the Finance Ministry.

Deputy Finance Minister Thanusak Lek-uthai said that about 910,000 first-car owners have already submitted documents for tax refunds totalling around Bt63 billion.

About 35,000 people queue for the process daily on average. Should such a figure continue through December 31, the last day for filing applications, over one million first-car owners will have participated in the plan, resulting in tax refunds of some Bt70 billion.

Mr Thanusak believed there would be no problem with the refund process, for the money is transferred to car owners on the fifth of every month. About Bt2.3 billion has already been paid to 35,000 car users.

He said if the budget is insufficient, the ministry can ask Cabinet to approve further payment.

The Excise Department will be working until December 31 so that the public can gain full benefit from the 'first car' scheme, the deputy finance minister noted. (MCOT online news)


Tesco to sell and export Thai agricultural produce

BANGKOK, Dec 18 – The Commerce Ministry has endorsed an agreement for distribution of Thai agricultural produce through Tesco, the British hypermarket chain in Thailand, in an attempt to help farmers and solve the problem of oversupply.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ministry and the giant supermarket called for collaboration in the purchase and export of Thai agricultural produce, merchandise from the government-initiated One Tambon One Product (OTOP) scheme and commodities of cooperatives in Thailand.

The Internal Trade Department and Tesco will work closely in distributing at least 120,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables through Tesco’s outlets nationwide next year, a 45 per cent increase from this year.

Tesco will also promote the export of Thai products including fruit, vegetables, processed foods, OTOP and cooperatives’ products to the United Kingdom, Central Europe and Asia.

Exports to China will be increased by 15 per cent, or at a total value of Bt15 billion. (MCOT online news)


KINGDOM PROPERTY AND ADDRESSTALK LAUNCH FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY FOR HOMEBUYERS

The Overview page: Providing an informative and detailed description of Southpoint for potential clientele.

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Thailand real estate developer Kingdom Property has signed a ground-breaking agreement with AddressTalk, a social media platform for multi-unit communities, to provide interactive communications between the developer and its customers.
The tailor-made community platform was launched today for Kingdom's Southpoint project, a high-quality 672 unit development on a four-rai plot in the prestigious Prathumnak Hill area of Pattaya. Southpoint, valued at THB2.5 billion and scheduled for completion in 2015, is part of the developer's rapidly expanding pipeline of projects that now stands at a total value of THB10 billion.
Kingdom Property's collaboration with AddressTalk, available on all mobile and computer devices, is the latest pioneering initiative by the developer in its pursuit of better ways of doing business in the property industry.
It demonstrates Kingdom Property's long-term commitment to its customers and also offers a level of transparency and accountability never before seen in the Thailand property market.

Staying in touch: The AddressTalk platform's noticeboard facilitates smooth communications between the project's management and customers.

AddressTalk provides a dedicated social media space for Southpoint and will allow Kingdom Property to post notices, documents and photos as an interactive communication tool for buyers, who, as verified members, are able to post comments, ask questions, make suggestions and hold open discussions.
There is also a function for 'followers', so anyone interested in Southpoint can do their own research, ask the views of customers and have exposure to ongoing debates and discussions. This means buyers can make an informed decision on their purchase.
Upon completion of the project in 2015 and the transfer of units, the online community will continue to thrive, providing owners and residents with a platform to discuss issues, share information and stay in touch with the management whilst maintaining an ongoing link to Kingdom Property.

Compatable with mobile devices: AddressTalk's social media tool allows the online community to share photos with one another at the touch of a button.

Kingdom Property Chief Executive Officer Nigel Cornick said that the partnership with AddressTalk confirmed Kingdom's long-term commitment to customer satisfaction, transparency in the construction process, and after sales service following completion.
"We are delighted to partner with AddressTalk. They have a powerful social media platform which we are able to customize to assist our customers in the buying, after-sales and project handover process in a completely transparent manner," Mr Cornick said.
"We believe that this will create great value for our customers. We can keep them informed every step of the way regarding the on-time delivery of their property, listen to their views and comments and, in doing so, demonstrate our long term commitment to them even after the project is completed and handed over."
AddressTalk Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Rob Oldnall applauded Kingdom Property for demonstrating 'the ultimate responsibility of a developer' by pioneering interactive communications with buyers.
"With every buyer comes a new relationship and, with it, the responsibility for a developer to hold the buyer's trust and confidence," he said. "By using a third-party platform, Kingdom has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and accountability.
"AddressTalk represents an opportunity for Kingdom to encourage fact not rumor, be open to addressing the hard questions and ensure absolute clarity in the process. And most importantly, it means they can keep their promise to deliver on-time and to all original specifications.
"We could not have chosen a better partner than Kingdom - and we are very pleased to be rolling this out for them, especially given the track record of Mr. Cornick in developing iconic projects in Thailand with innovation, efficiency and attention to his customers."
http://southpoint.addresstalk.com
For further information or high-resolution photography, please contact:
Mr Nigel Cornick
Chief Executive Officer
E-mail: [email protected] 
Tel: +66 (0) 81 812 6401
www.kingdomproperty.com 
www.southpointpattaya.com 
Mr David Johnson
Delivering Asia Communications
E-mail: [email protected] 
Tel: +66 (0) 2246 1159
Mobile: +66 (0) 89 170 9866
www.deliveringcommunications.com 
Notes to Writers and Editors:
About Kingdom Property. Kingdom Property was established in 1994 as a property services company. In 2009 Nigel J. Cornick acquired a shareholding in the company with the intent to use his extensive real estate experience to invest directly into development opportunities of which Southpoint in Pattaya is the first condominium project.


OTOP City 2012 fair kicks off

NONTHABURI, Dec 15--- The OTOP City 2012 fair began today in order to promote Thai local products and boost sales.

Presiding over an opening ceremony at IMPACT Challenger Hall exhibition centre in Nonthaburi, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the event was aimed at promoting Thai local goods from all over the country, supporting OTOP entrepreneurs as well as celebrating the 10th anniversary of the OTOP scheme.

The One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project, initiated by the government of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was designed to provide direct means of income in Thailand and export opportunities abroad for tambons, the local government levels below provincial and district level.

Thailand has adopted One-Village-One-Product (OVOP) movement of Japan’s Oita Prefecture and implemented the OTOP project in an attempt to help generate income for local low-income earners.

So far, the overall sales value of the OTOP merchandise reached around Bt70 billion annually which included exports valued at Bt10 billion. Currently, there are approximately 30,000 OTOP entrepreneurs.

The government also planned to support entrepreneurs in improving their products in terms of quality, quantity and design.

Apart from a shopping zone, there is also an international seminar ‘OVOP/OTOP International Seminar 2012.’

The OTOP City 2012 is being held at IMPACT’s Challenger 1-3 and Hall 1-6 in Nonthaburi, a suburb of Bangkok, through Dec 23. (MCOT online news)
 


Hotels in Hat Yai fully booked during New Year festival

SONGKHLA, Dec 16 - Hotels in Hat Yai, the business center of this southern province, have been fully booked during the New Year festival, according to the president of the Tourism Business Federation of Songkhla president, Somchart Pimthanapoonporn.

He made his remarks about tourism in Songkhla’s business town of Hat Yai in December that it is more lively ahead of Christmas and the New Year.

Malaysian tourists start arriving ahead of Christmas to Hat Yai by passenger buses and personal cars, while business areas and hotels are crowded with Malaysian and Singaporean tourists.

More than 12,000 rooms in Hat Yai have been fully booked in advance to celebrate the New Year countdown festival, he said.

This year, the event "Night Paradise Hat Yai Countdown to 2013" will be held on December 30-31 in the town centre along with other festive activities, he added. (MCOT online news)


More money into Asia, Thai currency to strengthen from QE3+

PRACHUAB KIRIKHAN, Dec 16 – A new round of money to be released by the US into the global economy as part of quantitative easing measures will contribute to successive monetary flow into Asia next year and strengthen Thai currency, according to a senior Bank of Thailand (BoT) official.

Pongpen Ruengvirayudh, BoT deputy governor for monetary stability, said the US Federal Reserve’s QE3+ plan is not unexpected but the money inflow in Asia will be smaller than in Eastern Europe and Latin America, which offer higher returns.

The US Federal Reserve announced in September this year a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, which included a plan to purchase US$40 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) per month. QE3 was to no avail, compelling it to add larger amounts of money into the economy.

Ms Pongpen said the Thai currency will be stronger but with minor movements and the BoT will not intervene.

The Thai currency will naturally move in accord with the market mechanism and the BoT has never intervened despite stronger baht in the last several years, she said.

She urged the private sector to be cautious and adopt exchange rate risk prevention, despite the fact that Thailand will be spared from economic impact next year.

Thailand has balanced investment, thanks to its ongoing investments in infrastructure in the state and private sectors, she said.

Foreign investments in the Thai bond market totalled US$10 billion for the first nine months of this year while Malaysia attracted twice more than Thailand, she noted.

She added that the Thai stock market which enjoys a 30 per cent increase this year reported an inflow of US$2 billion in foreign funds. (MCOT online news)


Transport Company inks agreement with Cambodia launching two bus routes

 

BANGKOK, Dec 14 - Thailand's state-owned Transport Company has signed an agreement with Cambodia on launching two bus routes between the two countries, starting Dec 29.

Transport Company President Wuttichart Kalayanamitr said the deal was signed with Nattakan (Cambodia) Company, Cambodia's international bus firm.

The two routes link Bangkok-Aranyaprathet-Poipet-Siem Reap and Bangkok-Aranyaprathet-Poipet-Phnom Penh.

Mr Wuttichart said the route launch resulted from a bilateral meeting in May, agreeing to an Exchange of Traffic Rights at the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border crossing.

He said the first route from Bangkok to Siem Reap is 424km taking seven hours, to be operated twice daily at an initial fare of Bt750 (US$25).

The second route, from the Thai capital to Phnom Penh, takes 11 hours for the 719km. One trip will be operated daily at a fare of Bt900 (US$30).

The launch is expected boost tourism and economic activity between the two countries.

Mr Wuttichart said it is expected to draw at least as many as 40,000-50,000 passengers annually, a number which he expects to increase accordingly once the ASEAN economic community (AEC) takes effect in 2015.

Thailand will open four new bus routes to Cambodia next year, making six routes in total. It will also provide other bus routes connecting with other neighbouring countries by 2015. (MCOT online news)


Thailand faces acute labour shortage; mass repatriation of migrant workers looms

BANGKOK, Dec 14 – Thailand faces an imminent acute labour shortage with more than one million migrant workers expected to be repatriated this weekend for failing to have completed nationality verification as required by the government, a senior member of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) said today.

TCC Deputy Chairman Pumin Harinsut said the mass repatriation will greatly affect the manufacturing industry, as well as the tourism and hospitality sectors, contributing to reduced possible exports next year by as much as 5 per cent.

Thailand requires migrant workers to pass a complex nationality verification procedure by the end of the day today, and those who fail to leave the country will be prosecuted.

Mr Pumin said the TCC is awaiting the government’s immediate response to deal with the problem now that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has acknowledged the issue.

The cabinet earlier announced that repatriated workers could be re-employed in accord with agreements made with the migrant workers home countries.

Pote Aramwatananont, a TCC officer, said the government has not consulted the private sector on the re-employment of migrant workers regarding agreements reflected in various memoranda of understanding and that the new procedure will merely facilitate the Labour Ministry procedures, not the private sector where the workers are to be employed.

He said the repatriation of migrant workers without privision of new workers will have a severe negative impact on Thailand’s industrial manufacturing. agricultural production, food processing, fisheries, and the construction sector – all of which rely heavily on migrant labour.

Damage to the construction industry alone may reach 20 per cent of the sector’s total value, he said.

The Labour Ministry reported that 356.351 migrant workers are awaiting nationality verification while others working illegally in Thailand could number 500,000-800,000 persons. They are mainly from Myanmar, the Lao PDR and Cambodia. (MCOT online news)


Regional insurance necessary, coming for ASEAN

BANGKOK, Dec 13 – Countries in Southeast Asia need to work on joint insurance policies, particularly for automobiles, to prepare for increasing inter-country driving when the region becomes the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said today.

Addressing the15th ASEAN Insurance Regulators Meeting (AIRM) in Bangkok, he said ASEAN’s state and private sectors will have to cooperate in facilitating the move.

Regional insurance may also include natural disaster coverage, he added.

Pravet Ong-artsithikul, secretary general of the Office of the Insurance Commission, said it is necessary to study the insurance policies of each Southeast Asian country so as to set a regional standard.

He said that cross country sales of insurance will be possible in the future while the private sector in Southeast Asia will have to work closer in alliances.

Thailand’s insurance business has grown steadily with total insurance premiums of Bt460 billion (about US$15 billion) in the third quarter, representing an increase of 19.08 per cent. (MCOT online news)


S&P says Thailand’s outlook stable despite political uncertainties

BANGKOK, Dec 13 – Standard & Poor’s Rating Services has affirmed Thailand’s stable outlook on long-term foreign and local currency ratings, citing a favourable external position, light government indebtedness and the credibility of the country’s monetary policy as the main rating supports.

Chularat Sutheethorn, director general of the Finance Ministry's Public Debt Management Office, said S&P’s also affirms the 'axAA/axA-1' ASEAN regional scale rating for Thailand as well as its ratings on Thailand's outstanding debt issuances.

The rating agency projects Thailand's foreign exchange reserves at US$190 billion (eight months of current account payments) by the end of 2012, and indicates that Thailand has run (mostly small) current account surpluses since 2006.

“We expect this trend to continue at least through 2015. As a result, we estimate net external liabilities at 14 per cent of current account receipts at yearend 2012 and expect external liquid assets of the government and financial sector to be double that of the nation's external debt,” says S&P’s.

It continues, “Similarly, the general government has run surpluses or small deficits since its recovery from the Asian financial crisis of 1997. After steadily declining to 17 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2008 (ending September 30, 2008), net general government debt rose to 24 per cent of GDP at the end of fiscal 2011. We expect the ratio to increase only modestly through 2015. The general government's interest burden remained a comfortable 5.5 per cent of revenue.

“Thailand's inflation, as shown by the Consumer Price Index, has been less than 5.5 per cent per year since 1999. Credit growth has been in line with nominal GDP growth. We rank the country's banking system '5' on a scale of 10. Thailand's per capita GDP--about US$5,350 in 2012--is a credit constraint. The country's infrastructure, health, and education indicators also are more in keeping with those of lower-rated sovereigns.”

“Political uncertainties have been an important credit weakness for Thailand in recent years. Since 2006, frequent and at times extra-constitutional changes in the government have delayed structural reforms, hindered government infrastructure spending, and depressed foreign direct investment. Street protests opposing the leading government party at times have caused significant economic disruptions. However, since the new government took office, political tensions have begun to ebb.”

S&P’s says it could lower the rating if Thailand's fiscal position and economic indicators worsen significantly due to, for example, the government adopting strongly populist policies. (MCOT online news)


Government told to put brakes on populism

BANGKOK, Dec 13 – Thailand’s government should slow down its lavish populist projects to avoid the undesirable situation of rocketing public debt, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) has warned.

Songtum Pinto, BoT Monetary Policy Office director, said the populism policy, including the rice pledging scheme and the tax rebate for first-car buyers, takes up the state’s huge budget and its successive execution will greatly increase the government’s spending and public debt.

He urged the government to spend more on infrastructure development so as to strengthen Thailand’s declining competitive edge.

According to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 published by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Thailand’s competitiveness is ranked 30th among 59 countries, a drop from 27th last year.

When Thailand becomes part of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, it will have to adjust its competitive strategy, otherwise it will be overtaken by neighbouring countries or be edged off the world stage, he warned.

Mr Songtum said the BoT has closely monitored the country’s rising household debt, particularly personal loans for those earning less than Bt15,000 a month.

Household debt will not be intense as long as salary earners are employed, while the skyrocketing stock index at 1,300 remains manageable and in accord with the strength and performances of listed companies, he said.

Housing loans have increased at a satisfactory pace but growth is too rapid in the condominium market, which has seen an increased rate of failures in debt payment.

Mr Songtum predicted Thailand’s economic growth at 5.7 per cent this year and 4.6 per cent next year thanks to domestic consumption but warned of challenges in light of slow economic improvement worldwide, especially the European debt crisis which will carry on for at least a decade and risk from the ‘fiscal cliff’ in the US. (MCOT online news)


Lifestyle products business seeks government help

BANGKOK, Dec 12 - Thai lifestyle products entrepreneurs have asked the government to find ways to help small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cope with the government’s minimum wage rise policy, and other economic situations.

Thai Lifestyle Products Federation (TLPF) chairman Supat Sriwannavit said entrepreneurs under the federation, which comprises seven associations, have been affected by the minimum wage rise to Bt300, the eurozone crisis, and the downward trending US economy, causing about 100 businesses from about 3,000, to slow down or close their businesses.

Most of them are SMEs and exporters, he said.

To help entrepreneurs, the federation asked the government to find more funding sources at low interest rates, set up a funding committee to help those affected within a budget of Bt2 billion, find and support new markets in terms of technology and for exports.

Mr Supat said the value of Thai exports has fallen over 50 per cent due to those factors. TLPF estimated lifestyle products exports this year to reach US$3 billion from Bt2.6 billion in the first 10 months, or an increase of only 2 per cent from the previous forecast of 5 per cent.

TLPF Secretary-General Jirabool Vittayasing said higher production costs from the wage rise and raw material costs, entrepreneurs' lack of access to funding sources, China's dumping measures, unexpanded domestic consumption, and limited sales distribution channels have been obstacles to Thai lifestyle product entrepreneurs, particularly SMEs. (MCOT online news)


Thai CEOs optimistic on country’s economic expansion

BANGKOK, Dec 11 – Most operators of listed companies in Thailand plan to expand their businesses and boost investment next year, an independent survey reported today.

The Thai Listed Companies Association (TLC) and Kasikorn Thai Research Centre (KSC Research) jointly conducted a “CEO Survey – Economic Outlook” in which 81 listed companies from nine different industries participated, focusing on the first half of next year.

Executives of 26 companies forecast Thailand’s economic growth next year at 4.5-5 per cent while only 12 companies are more optimistic that it will exceed 5 per cent.

Pensri Suteerasarn, TLC director, said the CEOs’ confidence on economic growth has improved from its April survey when they forecast expansion at 4-4.5 per cent.

Sixty-one per cent of the high-level businessmen say the global economic slowdown-- particularly the European debt crisis--will have a major impact on Thailand’s economy next year while 16 per cent pinpoint political stability and 10 per cent cite the government’s economic policy as problem areas.

Risk factors that continue to disturb Thai businessmen are the economic recession worldwide, Thailand’s political stability and the across-the-board hike of daily minimum wage to Bt300, she said, adding that the skilled labour shortage in the manufacturing sector remains the highest risk factor worrying business operators.

Despite the concern, more than half of the businesses plan to increase employment next year and 44 per cent say they are prepared to become part of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

Chao Kengchon, chief economist of KSC Research, said America’s Fiscal Cliff will not be resolved this year, compelling the US to remain in recession, but the European debt situation will improve due to an improved industrial index, though full recovery will not be achieved.

Meanwhile, China’s economy will continue to expand and as will commodity prices, he said, adding that China still enjoys strong foreign reserves and there is still room for further cuts in interest rates, a major economic-stimulation factor. (MCOT online news)


Advance auto orders at Motor Expo 2012 hits record high of 80,000 units

BANGKOK, Dec 10 - The number of advance auto orders at Motor Expo 2012 hit a record high at 80,000 units, with Honda ranking first with over 16,000 units ordered during the 10-day event.

Motor Expo organiser Kwanchai Prapaspong said the number of visitors reached 1.61 million, surpassing the expected figure at 1.6 million, thanks, he said, to an improved economy resulting higher consumer purchasing power.

He said this year’s volume of auto orders volume was forecast at only 50,000 units but it soared to a record high at 80,000, the highest since the event was first begun 29 years ago, counting for over Bt90 billion in circulation. The previous record was in 2010 with the orders volume at 33,000 units.

Apart from the improved economy, the government's 'first car' scheme is also a major factor for this year's increased orders, counting for as much as 40 per cent of all orders. The higher orders also resulted from a rebound from falling orders, affected by last year's devastating flood, which hit auto and auto parts plants in Thailand's industrial estates.

Mr Kwanchai said eco cars' orders volume counted for 20 per cent of sales, followed by pickup trucks at 10 per cent, while the rest was for sedans and luxury cars, which amounted to 1,300 units.

Honda City, Suzuki Swift, and Honda Brio are the top-three models respectively, gaining the best popularity of orders volume in regard to eco cars.

Mr Kwanchai however said the automobile reservation this year might slow down the volume next year, which should not exceed 20 per cent.

Following Honda's highest orders volume of 16,148 units at this year's Motor Expo, Toyota ranked second at 14,961 units, Nissan at 6,869 units, Isuzu at 5,587 unit, and Mazda at 4,774 units. (MCOT online news)


Oil palm planters demand government intervention to shore up falling price

RANONG, Dec 10 – Oil palm growers from Thailand’s southern provinces plan to submit their demands for government intervention in Bangkok Wednesday to help farmers facing falling palm nut prices.

Suwit Rakmai, chairman of Ranong’s oil palm planters on Sunday said some growers had already gone to Bangkok to submit their request to the government on Wednesday.

He said oil palm growers demanded that the government shore up or provide price guarantees for palm nut, which he said has declined to Bt1.5-2 per kilo, depending on the quality.

The falling price has affected a large number of oil palm growers as about 4,842 households in the province grow oil palm on about 31,000 acres.

Luecha Oonyuang, chairman of the Surat Thani palm growers association said the network of palm growers in seven southern provinces plans to gather at a co-op in Surat Thani on Wednesday, calling on the government to help compensate for falling prices directly through the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-Operatives.

They want the government to have clear assistance measures by December 18, the chairman said. (MCOT online news)


Reviving Popularity of Thai Hom Mali Rice Abroad

BThe Commerce Ministry is reaching out proactively in a mission to restore Thailand's Hom Mali Rice exports to China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong. Facing obstacles such as price dumping by competitors, the Ministry is embarking on new business strategies to regain market share.


The Ministry of Commerce has just signed nine agreements -- memorandums of understanding -- with Hong Kong to export Thai Hom Mali Rice at an average price of US$1,100 per tonne, with the total sales equivalent to approximately Bt33 billion or US$1 billion.


"The government needs to focus on marketing promotion and incentive programmes in order to retain the present export prices. In the past, we held up to 91% share of the market in Hong Kong, now it has dropped to a mere 51%. If we cannot compete in terms of volume, the alternative is to rely on marketing programmes," Vuthipol Wanglee, Deputy Manager of Chaithip Co Ltd, said.


 

"Our strategy is not to compete with price mechanisms, but to rely on marketing tools to promote Thai Hom Mali Rice as a brand. Doing this, we are able to have a selling point that can further be used to enhance brand value," Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom explained.
Rightfully so, as one of the mechanisms currently in place is the ‘in-store promotion campaign,’ which displays varieties of Thai Hom Mali rice to attract consumers to ‘buy Thai.’


The Thai government has allocated a budget to stimulate retail sales of Thai Rice overseas. For instance in Hong Kong alone, retail sales represent 50 per cent of the total rice market. This means that promotional offers at major supermarkets are a main mechanism to reach targeted consumers equipped with high purchasing power.
"We must work together to publicise the advantages of Thai rice. How is it different to other types of rice? There are countless brands. Therefore, it is important for consumers to have access to the right information," Vivat Assawanop, CP Trade assistant manager, said.

The Commerce Ministry is confident that marketing campaigns such as this will help revive the popularity of Thai Hom Mali Rice, and most importantly increase Thailand's competitive edge in the world market once again. (MCOT online news)


All Sectors Urged to Manage Risks and Challenges for Thailand’s Healthy Economic Growth

The Thai economy next year will continue to grow, but all sectors need to manage risks effectively and cope with many challenges.

Governor of the Bank of Thailand Prasarn Trairatvorakul stated that since many risks and challenges are lying ahead, the public and private sectors, as well as individuals, in Thai society should build “self-immunization” from external threats, for the sake of the country’s healthy economic growth.

In his address "Managing Risks and Rising to the Challenges of 2013,” Mr. Prasarn said that Thai exports had been adversely affected by the economic slowdown in major economies. However, private sector spending and increased income from tourism would contribute to the growth of the Thai economy in late 2012. He believed that the Thai economy this year would grow by 5.7 percent.

Mr. Prasarn said that the Thai economy would still depend mainly on domestic drive during the global economic slump. More investment is likely to be seen, as investors remain confident in the country’s overall economy. Thailand also needs to be prepared for the ASEAN Economic Community in the near future, when more capital would flow in for investment in the Government’s mega projects. This would create a favorable investment atmosphere for the private sector. For this reason, the central bank governor believed that the Thai economy next year would expand by 4.6 percent.

He pointed out that the implementation of the 300-baht daily minimum wage across the country would become a domestic challenge for the business sector, especially small entrepreneurs who must shoulder higher production costs. If the business sector is able to adjust to the new situation by reducing production costs and increasing production efficiency, it will be ready for greater competition in the soon-to-be ASEAN Economic Community.

In order to deal with tougher competition, Mr. Prasarn suggested that the business sector improve its risk management and enhance the quality of products. Now that labor shortages have become a problem, the country would no longer gain advantage by selling low-priced products, because of higher labor costs. So the business sector needs to seek ways to add value to various products.

As for individuals, the Governor of the Bank of Thailand suggested that the general public plan to manage risks and be prepared for the changing situation, as well. He urged the people to focus on staying disciplined with their savings and enhancing their potential.

He said that efficient spending by the public sector would help drive the economy and cope with short-term risks. The Government’s investment through major infrastructure projects would also play a key role in stimulating the country’s economy.

By RADIO THAILAND


Mobile phone operators get 3G licences

BANGKOK, Dec 8 – Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has resolved to issue third generation (3G) wireless licences to three mobile phone operators with a condition they reduce the service fees by at least 15 per cent, according to a senior committee member.

Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the Telecommunications Committee which is attached to the NBTC, said the three companies will receive official letters next week, informing them to kick off preparations for 3G service which should be fully launched by April next year.

He said the NBTC will add an addendum to each agreement, compelling every operator to reduce the service fees by 15 per cent given a continuous decline of service fee in the market by at least 10 per cent.

The three mobile phone operators qualified for the 3G wireless licences are Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC and True Move.

Suthipol Taweechaikarn, a member of the NBTC’s Telecommunications Committee, said the licences will be issued despite an appeal to the Administrative Court by the Office of the Ombudsman seeking an injunction to the NBTC’s auction.

He said the NBTC will follow the Central Administrative Court’s earlier ruling that the Ombudsman was not authorised to file the injunction. (MCOT online news)


Planters call for government intervention in plunging palm oil price

CHUMPHON, Dec 7 – Oil palm planters in Thailand’s southern provinces have threatened to protest if the government fails to help boost the price of palm oil, which has dropped to Bt2.90 per kg, its lowest in seven years.

Planters in Chumphon, Surat Thani and Krabi are upset at the declining price for palm oil, and have called on the government to buy their produce at not less than Bt4.50 per kg.

Chumphon Oil Palm Planters Association president Sanya Pansevi said the association urges the government to intervene through the Agriculture Institute to maintain the price of palm oil and create a palm oil stocking system to enhance the private sector’s existing system.

The sector is also urgently promoting the use of B5 and B7 biodiesel which will consequently boost palm oil consumption. (MCOT online news)


3G operators to be told: Reduce phone prices or lose the licences

BANGKOK, Dec 6 – The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has threatened to revoke the third-generation (3G) wireless licences for any of the three bid winners who refuse to lower mobile phone service fees by 15-20 per cent, a commission executive said.

NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasit said the NBTC will meet today and tomorrow to discuss further actions on the 3G mobile phone pricing now that the Administrative Court has rejected the Office of the Ombudsman’s injunction regarding the auction, clearing the way for the NBTC to issue licences to the three bid winners within the stipulated deadline.

The NBTC will thoroughly discuss conditions of the licences which clearly require the bid winners to reduce the rates of 3G mobile phone service.

Mr Takorn said Friday’s meeting will focus on negotiations with the three mobile phone operators, Advanced Info Service (AIS), Dtac and True Move, on price reduction.

The three companies have postponed an NBTC instruction to submit price reduction proposals by Nov 30, reasoning that they could not meet the deadline.

Mr Takorn said the NBTC will, instead of waiting for the operators’ proposals, set a condition for them to reduce the fees by 15 per cent of the average market rate.

“We won’t wait for them anymore. The NBTC meeting on Friday will be informed of an imposed rate to be attached with the to-be-issued licences. If they don’t accept our proposals, they won’t get the licences,” he said.

NBTC deputy president Settapong Malisuwan said after 3G licences are issued, the commission will conduct an auction of the 1800 megahertz bandwidth to use with the 4G wireless technology.

A roadmap for the 4G auction including the auction procedure, starting prices and the transition period for subscribers should be worked out next month, he said. (MCOT online news)


Thailand’s 3G services to move on after court’s ruling

BANGKOK, Dec 3 – Thailand’s Administrative Court today refused to rule on a request to suspend the allocation of 3G licences by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to three bid winners.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier asked for the court’s decision not to issue the 3G licences to the bid winners, charging the NBTC with granting the licences without fair competition as stipulated by the constitution.

The court said the Ombudsman was not authorised to file a petition on the case.

In an auction on Oct 16, the NBTC awarded licences for mobile services on 3G spectrum to Thailand’s three largest mobile phone companies—Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communications (DTAC) and True Move.

The bid results drew criticism and protests from different quarters of Thai society, including the Finance Ministry.

The NBTC is obliged to issue licences to the bid winners within 90 days after approving the bid outcome. (MCOT online news)


Private firms jittery as nationwide minimum wage hike looms

BANGKOK, Dec 3 – Thailand’s private sector today called on the government to take serious action to alleviate entrepreneurs’ financial burdens after the January 1 nationwide increase of the daily minimum wage to Bt300.

Payungsak Chartsutipol, president of the Federation of Thai Industries, said a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industries and Banking (JSCCIB) agreed to submit a seven-point proposal to the government and seek a concrete solution this week—in time to affect next month’s enforcement of the new minimum wage.

According to the FTI committee proposal, the required employer and employee contributions of five per cent of employees’ salary to the Social Welfare Fund should be reduced to three per cent for the next three years; the government should relieve employers’ financial burden from the Bt300 minimum wage by setting up a fund with the government contributing 75 per cent and employers 25 per cent next year, government:employers at 50:50 in 2014, government:employers at 25:75 in 2015 and 100 per cent contribution from employers after that.

The fund is to assist businesses directly affected by the minimum wage increase.

The FTI committee asked the government to reduce the business tax from three per cent to 0.1 per cent , reduce water and electricity fees by 50 per cent for three years, reduce room taxed for hotels and resorts hiring less than 200 employees by 50 per cent for three years, extend the 2013-deadline for a total Bt20 billion loan to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by another three years, and entitle SMEs to seek VAT refund for three years.

Mr Payungsak said the requested three-year extension period was to enable entrepreneurs to adjust their preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community taking effect in late 2015. (MCOT online news)


MCOT, NBTC sign MoU on digital TV broadcasting trial

BANGKOK, Dec 3 - MCOT Plc, Thailand’s leading public broadcaster, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissionm (NBTC) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on digital television broadcasting trial.

Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC broadcasting committee, and executives from three television channels - Modernine TV, channel 5 and Channel 11- have signed the deal for a trial of digital terrestrial broadcasting service.

The three executives were comprised of Anek Permvongseni, President of MCOT Plc; Lt Gen Chatchai Sarikalaya, president of Royal Thai Army Radio and Television Station or TV 5; Theerapong Sodasri, Director General of the Public Ralations Department which operates National Broadcasting Services of Thailand or NBT Channel 11.

Under the MoU, the parties would coordinate in the trial of digital broadcasting, research and study on transmission of digital TV, and to promote the understanding among public on digital broadcasting.

“The trial will take six months. We plan to have during the test, with all perimetre and marketing trial,” Mr Natee said. “I think when all Thai people can see the test, the trial, then everyone will see how important to move from analog to digital.”

The NBTC believes the transformation from analog to digital system could run smoothly in accordance with the 2012-16 master plan for broadcasting.

MCOT executive vice president Sura Gaintanasilp said the cooperation would involve the trial on digital TV broadcasting during the first six months of 2013, with possibility of extension.

“For the first trial, we are planning for the Bangkok and metropolitan area. And the period for testing our trial should be 6 months, and may be extended to another 6 months,” Mr Sura said.

“For the network provider, we think we are ready. For the technical, content providing side, we have to do something. Big task for us.”

The broadcast would cover three main areas - Bangkok, its perimetre and the northern province of Chiang Mai.

The MCOT is also planning to launch another 5 television channels that includes news channel, channel for children and family, and Mondernine in digital format. The digital broadcast trial run by MCOT beginning this week. (MCOT online news)


New JICA president visits Thai premier; more development discussions on the table

BANGKOK, Nov 30 - The new president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) paid a courtesy call on the Thai prime minister on Friday, discussing additional development cooperation between Thailand and Japan.

Akihiko Tanaka visited Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House.

The premier congratulated Mr Akihiko on his April promotion and praised JICA for its commitment to sustainable development in Southeast Asia. She also thanked JICA for its long-term partnership with Thailand.

The discussion included expansion of cooperation between Thailand and JICA at tripartite and regional levels.

JICA agreed to the Thai premier's request for Japan to share its expertise and experience on community development and infrastructure at train stations and nearby areas, as well as for Japanese technology transfer to develop personnel to support various industries, according to the official statement from the Thai government.

Likewise Thailand agreed to JICA's request for cooperation on care of the elderly and the underprivileged. It was agreed to jointly study and prepare a format for cooperation.

JICA asked Thailand to support the Japanese private sector as bidders in Thailand’s water management projects. Ms Yingluck said her administration will consider the matter fairly.

Meanwhile, JICA showed interest in becoming a partner in the Thai-Myanmar cooperation on the Dawei megaproject, which Thailand and Myanmar would provide opportunities to other countries to join the project's development once settling their conditions.

At a tripartite level, Thailand and Japan cooperate in developing third countries, particularly in Africa as well as Myanmar.

JICA proposed development in Myanmar in three main issues -- development of the country's potential, infrastructure development, and reconciliation among ethnic minorities. (MCOT online news)


Thailand hopes for rice export rebound in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, Nov 30 – Thailand today signed agreements to export 100,000 tonnes of Hom Mali (fragrant) rice worth Bt33 billion to Hong Kong in an apparent attempt to salvage its dipping market share in the Chinese special administrative region.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom witnessed the signing of nine memorandums of understanding to export Thai Hom Mali rice to Hong Kong at an average price of US$1,100 per tonne.

He said Thailand will specially focus on promoting Thai rice in the Hong Kong market after losing the leading export position to Vietnam in the last two years. Thailand’s exports to Hong Kong of 200,000 tonnes a year has declined to 160,000-170,000 tonnes.

Citing overseas marketing promotion as its priority, Mr Boonsong said the government has allocated a budget to stimulate retail sales which represent 50 per cent of the total rice market. Promotions at major supermarkets and distribution of rice samples are some of the marketing measures being considered.

The commerce minister expressed confidence that the government’s marketing activities will revive Thailand’s rice exports to Hong Kong by 60,000-70,000 tonnes, after which marketing campaigns will be launched in Singapore.

Vuthipol Wanglee, deputy manager of Chaithip Co—one of Thailand’s major rice exporters, said the government will need to focus on marketing promotion and activities if it wants to retain the present export prices, adding that Thailand’s market share in Hong Kong has fallen from 90 per cent to 50 per cent.

Cambodia has absorbed Thailand’s lost share of fragrant rice sales in the Hong Kong market, he said. (MCOT online news)


Thailand resumes rose apple exports to Malaysia after 2-year hiatus

BANGKOK, Nov 30 – The first shipment of rose apples was exported to Malaysia through Padang Besar checkpoint in Thailand’s southern province of Songkhla, ending a two-year ban, a Thai agriculture official said today.

Damrong Chirasuthat, director general of the Agriculture Department, said the exported fruit was subject to strict examination and registration under the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) required by the Malaysian government.

Thai rose apples were banned in Malaysia since October 2010 after the authorities found bactrocera correcta insects in shipments from Thailand.

Thai and Malaysian agriculture officials met last year and agreed that rose apples destined for Malaysia must be produced by GAP and GMP-registered farms while the Malaysian quarantine checkpoint will strictly examine farm produce from Thailand.

Mr Damrong said Malaysian agriculture officials inspected a rose apple orchard in Damnern Saduak district of Ratchaburi in October last year, after which talks resumed and the Malaysian officials agreed to try their best to facilitate imports of the Thai fruit.

Thailand’s exported 4,570 tonnes of rose apples to Malaysia between January 1 and October 1, 2010, shipments that were worth 22.8 million baht. (MCOT online news)


Finance Minister promises financially-sound Thailand

BANGKOK, Nov 30 – Thailand will achieve a balanced budget within three years with the budget deficit reduced from Bt400 billion this year to Bt300 billion next year and Bt225 billion in 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong announced today.

The concurrent finance minister said the Bt225 billion budget deficit will represent less than 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), currently at Bt12 trillion.

To strengthen Thailand’s economy, the government will focus on economic expansion, income distribution, and stability in currency exchange, interest rates and commodity prices, he said, indicating that Thailand had previously concentrated only on economic expansion without action on income distribution and price stability.

He said the government aims at achieving the two remaining factors by moving forward to expand exports, public spendings, private investment and domestic consumption.

In the past one and a half decades, he said, Thailand has mainly relied on exports, which has enjoyed a 20 per cent growth, in its economic expansion but the economy expanded by only 4-5 per cent while domestic consumption played a very small role.

Mr Kittiratt added that the government is proposing a bill on infrastructure development for the national transport and communications system in the next seven years with a Bt2 trillion investment, expressing hope that the development will link transport routes nationwide, reduce logistics costs and stimulate a sustainable economy.

Public debt may increase to 50 per cent of GDP but still under the 60 per cent ceiling set by the Finance Ministry, he said. (MCOT online news)


2012 December 22

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Finance Ministry elated by rocketing tax collection

Thai Jan-Nov rice exports decrease 37% in volume, 25% in value, year-on-year

Thailand to designate 2013 as anti-piracy year

Labour ministry seeking cabinet approval to legalise 300,000 illegal migrant workers

Bt600 billion cash in reserve for New Year’s holiday

November Industries Sentiment Index highest in 5 months

World Bank paints improved economic future for Thailand

World Bank: Rice pledging scheme a heavy burden for Thailand

New vehicular excise tax rates depend on CO2 emissions, from 2016

PTT elated by LPG price hike

Manufacturers investment privileges near Bt1 trillion

Japanese investment in Thailand unchanged despite new political leader

PM visits Myanmar, inspects progress at Dawei Special Economic Zone

'First Car' tax refunds might hit 1 million units: Finance Ministry

Tesco to sell and export Thai agricultural produce

KINGDOM PROPERTY AND ADDRESSTALK LAUNCH FIRST SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY FOR HOMEBUYERS

OTOP City 2012 fair kicks off

Hotels in Hat Yai fully booked during New Year festival

More money into Asia, Thai currency to strengthen from QE3+

Transport Company inks agreement with Cambodia launching two bus routes

Thailand faces acute labour shortage; mass repatriation of migrant workers looms

Regional insurance necessary, coming for ASEAN

S&P says Thailand’s outlook stable despite political uncertainties

Government told to put brakes on populism

Lifestyle products business seeks government help

Thai CEOs optimistic on country’s economic expansion

Advance auto orders at Motor Expo 2012 hits record high of 80,000 units

Oil palm planters demand government intervention to shore up falling price

Reviving Popularity of Thai Hom Mali Rice Abroad

All Sectors Urged to Manage Risks and Challenges for Thailand’s Healthy Economic Growth

Mobile phone operators get 3G licences

Planters call for government intervention in plunging palm oil price

3G operators to be told: Reduce phone prices or lose the licences

Thailand’s 3G services to move on after court’s ruling

Private firms jittery as nationwide minimum wage hike looms

MCOT, NBTC sign MoU on digital TV broadcasting trial

New JICA president visits Thai premier; more development discussions on the table

Thailand hopes for rice export rebound in Hong Kong

Thailand resumes rose apple exports to Malaysia after 2-year hiatus

Finance Minister promises financially-sound Thailand

 

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