Double-digit export growth for Thailand in 2013 impossible
BANGKOK, Nov 29 – Thailand will not achieve double-digit growth
in export volume next year, Commerce Minister Boonsong
Teriyapirom said today.
He said the predicted monthly export growth of US$20 billion in
the final quarter of this year will push the annual volume to
US$232.3 billion, an increase of only 5 per cent for the entire
The grim outlook for Thailand’s trading landscape was shared by
former commerce minister Narongchai Akrasenee who forecast
Thailand’s exports next year to increase by 8-9 per cent at the
It is almost impossible for Thailand to reach double-digit
growth since the public sector will have to import raw materials
on a large scale for investment in infrastructure relating to
flood prevention and logistics development, he said.
Mr Narongchai urged all parties concerned to control the boom of
personal loans given the risk of non-performing loans in the
market next year.
While the euro remains weak, the strong Thai baht will attract
foreign investment in the country, he said.
Srirat Rastapana, director general of the International Trade
Promotion Department, said the department will be engaged in
expanding investment among members of the ASEAN Economic
Community as well as non-ASEAN countries next year.
Promotions of the Thai kitchen to the world, halal food,
development of merchandise to meet green economy requirements
and the development of small- and medium-size enterprises to the
global market are some of the ITD’s major missions next year,
she added. (MCOT online news)
PTT offers free engine check-up service
BANGKOK, 29 November 2012 (NNT) - Petrol conglomerate PTT has
begun offering free engine check-ups from yesterday until
December 5th as part of a global warming alleviation campaign.
PTT President and CEO Pailin Chuchotetaworn, elaborated that PTT
has cooperated with the Vocational Education Commission to offer
the service by technical students since 2004, in order to help
promote fuel efficiency and reduce air pollution.
84-thousand vehicles were checked under the campaign last year,
potentially reducing 13-thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide
emissions. PTT expects 120-thousand vehicles to come in for
service this year, which could help cut 23-thousand tonnes of
Free full engine tune-up services are available at 55 PTT
stations while minor check-ups, available until December 31st,
are on offer at 97 ProCheck service centres. PTT lubricant oil
will also be sold at discounted prices at the service spots.
By RADIO THAILAND & INSIGHT INFO
Thailand poised to overtake India in rice export
BANGKOK, 29 November (NNT) - The International Rice Research
Institute (IRRI) has said Thailand could soon overtake India as
the world’s largest rice exporter.
Bloomberg reported that the IRRI forecast Thailand will surpass
India as the world’s largest rice exporter as the country
accelerates sales from state stockpiles. However, the IRRI said
the U.S. Department of Agriculture expects rice prices in the
global market to fall because of large stockpiles, explaining
that Thailand will be forced to sell its rice at lower prices.
Senior Economist Samarendu Mohanty said Indian rice exports
decreased to 7 million tons during the first 9 months of this
According to the Department of Foreign Trade, Thailand plans to
export 8.5 million tons of rice next year, compared to 7.3
million tons this year.
The Kingdom is also expected to have 12.1 million tons of rice
in its stock by the end of the 2012/2013 season.
By RADIO THAILAND & INSIGHT INFO
Thailand schedules rail talk with China
BANGKOK, 29 November (NNT) - The Transportation Minister has
made known that Thailand and China will be holding a discussion
concerning collaboration on a high speed rail project next week.
Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthipan revealed that the talks
will seek to conclude rail routes and inform China of the
project’s progress so far. The minister revealed that an auction
to head the project has been tentatively scheduled for the end
of next year.
Mr Chatchart further disclosed that he will visit Bali,
Indonesia to attend the 18th ASEAN Transport Ministers Summit
from 29-30 November 2012. Fellow ASEAN countries, such as
Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, will be at the meeting to
Thailand plans to discuss air travel and connectivity within
ASEAN at the meeting.
By RADIO THAILAND & INSIGHT INFO
Thailand International Motor Expo 2012 officially launched
BANGKOK, Nov 29 - The 29th Thailand International Motor Expo
2012 was officially launched today by a former deputy premier
and the minister of industry.
Former deputy prime minister Suwat Liptapanlop and Industry
Minister Prasert Boonchaisuk presided over the opening ceremony.
Mr Suwat said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will host a
celebration tomorrow marking Thailand's highest auto
manufacturing record at two million units. The figure is the
highest for the country in the past fifty years, ranking the
world's top-ten of those producing cars, while auto export
counts for more than 10 per cent, and car manufacturing created
over 200,000 job positions.
Once the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) takes effect in 2015,
Thailand's auto industry will expand considerably, he said. One
million cars will be produce for the domestic market, and the
rest will be for neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, Motor Expo organiser Kwanchai Prapaspong said around
1.6 million people are expected to visit the fair, an increase
from 1.3 million visiting last year.
He believed the event will attract more visitors this year as a
result of the government's 'first car' scheme which will end in
Ordering new automobiles by reservation is expected to reach
50,000 units, higher than last year which marked 30,000 total
reservations, while Bt55 million is forecast to be in
Thailand International Motor Expo 2012 is held through December
10 at Bangkok's Muang Thong Thani's Impact Challenger Hall, with
38 car producers and nine motorcycle producers participating.
(MCOT online news)
BAAC asserts it has adequate loans for rice pledging scheme
BANGKOK, Nov 29 – Thailand’s only state bank for farmers stood
firm today that it is financially sound and has sufficient funds
to fulfill the government’s rice pledging scheme through the new
harvest despite a required fresh loan of Bt240 billion.
Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) deputy
manager Boonthai Kaewkanti said the bank has reserved a special
fund for the purchase of paddy stocks, targeted at 15 million
tonnes in the 2012-2013 harvest, while the government will pay
back its loans from its sales of rice from the previous year.
Farmers have gradually transported their paddy to be sold at
various locations established by the government under the rice
pledging scheme, he said, adding that the latest trading volume
was reportedly at more than 1 million tonnes.
Nakhon Phanom Governor Anukul Tangkananukulchai said drought has
lately affected the quality of rice sold to the government under
the scheme, compelling farmers to release their produce at lower
price. The government sets a pledging price of Bt15,000-20,000
In Buri Ram province, the provincial rice monitoring committee
has asked the Internal Trade Department to set up 10 more rice
purchasing sites to facilitate farmers in remote areas. (MCOT
Bank of Thailand maintains policy interest rate at 2.75%
BANGKOK, Nov 28 - The Bank of Thailand (BoT) maintained its
policy interest rate at 2.75 per cent, saying the current policy
rate remained accommodative and conductive to growth.
BoT Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) secretary Paiboon
Kittisrikangwan, announced the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting
said the MPC voted unanimously to maintain the policy rate at
2.75 per cent. The MPC will remain vigilant in monitoring global
and domestic economic developments and stand ready to take
appropriate policy action as warranted.
The MPC viewed that as downside risks to growth subsided with
inflationary pressure in check, the current policy rate remained
accommodative and conducive to growth.
The Thai economy continued its positive growth momentum from the
previous meeting. The global impact has so far remained limited
only to export‐related sectors, while the greater‐than‐expected
strength in domestic demand appeared to provide sufficient
cushion against the adverse impact of the slowdown in exports,
the central bank said in its statement.
Going forward, exports were projected to recover in the first
half of 2013 on the back of anticipated improvement in the
global economy. Private consumption and investment will continue
to be the main growth drivers for the economy, supported by
strong private sector confidence and accommodative monetary
conditions with high credit growth. Inflationary pressure
stabilised at a moderate level close to the previous meeting, it
The global economic outlook showed signs of stabilisation on the
back of the better-than‐expected economic data especially from
the US and China. There was sustained improvement in the US
labour and housing markets, although the fiscal cliff remains a
key risk factor. China’s economy appeared to regain traction
with recent strengthening in all key areas including exports,
domestic consumption and investment, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, the central bank said the eurozone economy
contracted, but the economic and financial outlook of the region
was projected to become more stable next year as resolution of
the euro debt crisis becomes more concrete and the core
economies continued to expand in tandem with improvement in the
Against this backdrop, the outlook of Asian economies has
gradually improved with signs of recovery in exports, and a
recent pick‐up in China’s economy. (MCOT online news)
Loy Krathong in Hat Yai lively; 30 mln expected in circulation
SONGKHLA, Nov 28 - The Loy Krathong festival's ambience in Hat
Yai today is lively, with Bt30 million revenue is expected to
Songkhla Tourist Industry Association chairman Somchart
Pimtanapunporn said Malaysian tourists started slowing into the
area before the Loy Krathong festival, for it was already a
school holiday in Malaysia.
Room reservations in Hat Yai have been about 80 per cent booked
for the festival, which is a satisfactory figure, he said, given
that the day has not fallen on a weekend.
Security measures are well prepared for safety in Hat Yai
municipality, with defence volunteers, special task force
officials, and a civic network to monitor the situation round
Provincial police ordered strict measures imposed on checkpoints
in both inner and outer Hat Yai, while stationing personnel at
places where Loy Krathong activities are held. (MCOT online
Outbound industrial expansion ‘a must for Thailand’
BANGKOK, Nov 28 – Thailand must extend its production bases into
neighbouring countries, especially Myanmar, to pave the way for
trade and marketing penetration into South Asia where the total
population is three times higher than in Southeast Asia,
according to an adviser to the prime minister.
Olarn Chaipravat, president of the Thailand Trade
Representative, said investment in neighbouring countries should
focus on agriculture and labour-intensive industries.
The opening of Myanmar will attract foreign investment while
that country’s labour force in Thailand will eventually return
to their homeland, causing a labour shortage in the textile and
fisheries industries in Thailand, he said.
Mr Olarn said it is time for Thailand to revamp its
manufacturing industries by concentrating on high quality
services and products using advanced technology.
It is important that the Thai private sector enters joint
ventures with or owns shares in overseas companies investing in
Myanmar, he said, adding that the Thai private sector will soon
be invited to survey industrial estates in Myanmar, Cambodia and
Laos to look for future investments in those countries.
Arkom Tempitayapaisit, secretary general of the National
Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said Thailand
currently focuses on a five-point strategy which involves goods,
service, investment, labour supply and capital funds.
The government will be asked to push forward the strategy
including cooperation with Myanmar and the development of the
Dawei deep seaport project, he said. (MCOT online news)
Minimum wage moves severely hit Thai garment exports
BANGKOK, Nov 28 – Overseas purchase orders for Thai garments
have declined by 20-30 per cent since April when the country’s
daily minimum wage was increased to Bt300, according to an
Taweekit Chaturacharoenkun, chairman of the labour committee
under the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said the first
phase of the minimum wage increase has covered 40 per cent of
the country while the second phase, to be effective January 1,
will be in force nationwide.
Some small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have moved their
factories to neighbouring Vietnam and Cambodia, he said, adding
that foreign importers have hinted about shifting their orders
from Thailand to Vietnam and Cambodia next year.
Mr Taweekit said labour-intensive industries in Thailand will
have to adjust their production while the Labour Ministry is not
able to help the private sector to reduce their costs.
Citing the northern province of Payao as an example, he said it
saw a daily wage increase by Bt70 in the first stage of the
minimum wage policy, and another Bt80 hike is looming in the
“Payao business operators will be subject to pay an additional
Bt3,661/month to each employee,” he explained.
“The operators will be more than happy if their extra financial
burden is relieved by 60 per cent but 10 per cent is the most
the Labour Ministry can do.”
Mr Taweekit said that Thai-based TK Garment Co has moved its
manufacturing base to Cambodia’s Sisophon province which imposes
a daily wage of Bt60-70, while a factory in Tak’s Mae Sot
district on the Myanmar border may relocate to Bangkok to save
The higher minimum wage combined with a labour shortage have
dashed the hope of Chaiyaphum province to become Thailand’s
textile and garment hub as several operators have moved to
Vietnam and Cambodia, he said. (MCOT online news)
October auto sales hit record high, over 200% increase
BANGKOK, Nov 27 – Thailand’s auto sales in October totalled
142,839 units, up 233.2 per cent, a new record high, according
to Wuttikorn Suriyachantananont, executive vice president of
Toyota Motors (Thailand).
Total sales included 72,211 passenger cars, 70,628 commercial
vehicles, and 61,391 one-tonne pickup trucks.
The considerable year-on-year sales increase was in part due to
last year’s auto sales being impacted by the devastating flood.
The government’s first car buyer scheme and automakers’
return-to-normal manufacture capacity also contributed to record
Toyota recorded the highest sales at 49,055 units, followed by
Honda at 21,265 units and Isuzu at 20,170 units.
Culminated sales in from January to October this year were 1.1
million units, 60.2 per cent year-on-year growth. Passenger car
growth accounted for 62 per cent.
Toyota recorded top sales at 429,806 units, followed by Isuzu at
170,173 units and Honda at 127,709 units.
The auto market is likely to remain robust until the end of this
year due to potential customers’ right to buy their first car
under the government scheme to encourage car ownership and
increased auto production capacity. (MCOT online news)
Over Bt3 billion circulation likely for Loy Krathong festival
BANGKOK, Nov 26 - Bangkokians’ spending during this week’s Loy
Krathong or Candle Light festival is forecast at around 3.5
billion baht this year, much higher than last year’s spending
when the capital faced a devastating flood, according to the
Kasikorn Research Centre.
A survey on Bangkokians’ response to this year’s Loy Krathong
festival 2012 December 1-10 was conducted among 511 respondents,
covering various occupations, age groups, and income ranges.
Most plan to float krathong, small flower vessels, in Bangkok’s
rivers and canals.
More than three out of four persons--76.8 per cent--said they
would spend on travel, food and beverages, and buying krathongs,
according to the survey.
Most of the spending-about 2.1 billion baht or 59.5 per cent
will likely circulate in Bangkok and 1.4 billion baht or 40 per
cent in the provinces. (MCOT online news)
Thais deeper in debt due to gov't policies: NESDB
BANGKOK, Nov 26 - Thai households in the third quarter of this
year are found to have greater debts and less ability to repay
their debt, according to Office of the National Economic and
Social Development Board (NESDB).
NESDB deputy secretary-general Suwannee Kamman cited statistics
from the Bank of Thailand (BoT) that outstanding debts for
personal consumption totalled Bt2.74 trillion, up 20.4 per cent
year-on-year and also consecutively higher than those in this
year's first and second quarters, partly as a result of
household spending stimulated by the government's 'first car'
and 'first home' schemes.
Personal consumption debts for cars and motorcycles reached the
highest figure of 33 per cent, while for other types of
consumption at 30 per cent and for loans for buying homes at 10
Ms Suwannee said the public's ability to repay their debts
decreased as seen by non-performing loans (NPL) from personal
consumption loans which increased 25 per cent, or Bt56 million
in value, or counting as 21 per cent of overall NPLs.
Meanwhile, outstanding personal debts whose holders failed to
make payments for more than three months increased 37 per cent
or Bt7.3 billion, while credit card loans with debts failing to
be paid for more than three months grew 11 per cent.
Ms Suwannee concluded from these figures that Thai households'
spending behaviour is worrisome and should be monitored
particularly among those low- and middle-income earners who tend
to spend their money in response to social values and
advertisements. (MCOT online news)
Thai exports expand 15% in October
BANGKOK, Nov 26 – Thai exports in October were valued at more
than US$19 billion, a 15 per cent growth owing to high demand
prior to the New Year festival.
Srirat Rastapana, director-general of the Department of
International Trade Promotion said Thai exports grew in all
Exports to mature markets increased 12.3 per cent, dynamic
markets rose 14 per cent and emerging market 31.4 per cent.
Exports of industrial goods were up 24.3 per cent. Auto parts,
construction materials and electronics were up 53.4 per cent,
74.5 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. While exports of
textile and agriculture and agricultural and agro-industrial
produces dropped 3.2 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
Thai exports in the first ten months of this year were worth
US$191 billion, up 0.34 per cent.
Imports in October 2012 valued US$21 billion, a 21 per cent
increase. Imports of fuel rose 35.6 per cent and vehicles and
transport equipment were up 70 per cent and auto parts and
components rose 70 per cent and cars 75.5 per cent.
Manufacturing and transportation sectors needed more fuel and
the global oil prices increased.
Imports rose ahead of Christmas and New Year festival. Thai
imports in the first ten months valued at US$206 billion, up
7.15 per cent. In October alone, Thailand posted a trade deficit
of US$2.4 billion and for the first ten months, the country’s
trade deficit was recorded at US$14.25 billion.
Commercial Attachés and agencies concerned from the state and
private sector will meet on November 28-30 to set a direction
and target for next year’s exports to push for the two-digit
The ministry will work to penetrate new markets and autos,
electronics and electric appliances are Thailand’s main export
industries. It is projected exports in the last two months of
this year will grow at least 10 per cent and the whole year’s
export growth is likely to stay around 4.5-5 per cent. (MCOT
Thai industrialists’ confidence alarmingly low
BANGKOK, Nov 23 – The Thai Industries Sentiment Index (TISI)
continuously slipped lower in the past five months, sliding
below 100 points for four consecutive months, an industrialist
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) president Phayungsak
Chartsuthipol said the latest TISI in October was 93.9, down
from 94.1 in September.
According to an FTI survey, the declining index was mainly due
to decreasing purchase orders, poorer industrial production and
overall business performance.
The disappointing TISI signals diminishing enterpreneurial
confidence given their concerns regarding the higher costs of
raw materials, wage and electricity, he said, adding that the
global economic meltdown also has an impact on their confidence.
Despite the unfavourable atmosphere, domestic consumption has
successively expanded compared to the previous month thanks to
an increase in purchase and sales orders.
Industrialists predicted the TISI in the next three months at
Mr Phayungsak said investors were most worried about the global
economic impact while other concerns involved exchange rates,
Thailand’s internal political situation, fuel prices and
Local investors have proposed to the government to delay an
increase of fuel adjustment charge (Ft) on electricity, control
fuel prices and solve the problem of labour shortage, he said.
He added that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) had called on
the government to set up a fund to enable them to seek loans for
human-substituted machinery and reduce taxes on imported raw
materials and machines. (MCOT online news)
Domestic car production exceeds 2 million units this year
BANGKOK, Nov 23 – Thailand’s automotive industry is jubilantly
celebrating its “2012 Golden Year” as the annual automobile
manufacturing has surpassed 2 million units for the first time
in five decades.
Vitoon Simachokedee, permanent secretary for industry, said
today that domestic automobile production through the yearend
will reach 2.3 million units—1.3 million units for domestic
distribution and 1 million units for export.
The champion products are pickup trucks and eco-cars, he said,
adding that Thailand has moved forward as one of the 10 top
He said Thailand’s automotive exports rank sixth worldwide.
Exports are expected to reach 2.5 million units next year and 3
million units in 2017.
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) president Payungsak
Chartsuthipol called 2012 as the “golden year” of Thai
automotive industry and said the country currently has over
2,500 spare parts and automotive-related plants, hiring a
competent labour force of more than 800,000 people.
The automotive and spare parts industries sought investment
privileges at a total value of Bt2.02 million this year, a 95
per cent increase from last year, he said.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will preside at a celebration
of automotive achievement, entitled “2 million units: New era to
global success,” scheduled for next Friday. (MCOT online news)
China interested in rail project, PM pleads for pandas, Labor Min sure wage hike will have little detriment
BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) – China has expressed a special
interest in the kingdom's high-speed train project and confirmed
its intention to compete for the deal.
The message was conveyed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
by visiting Chinese premier Wen Jiabao during a meeting at
Government House yesterday.
Chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affair's East Asia Department
Damrong Kraikruan said China has sent a proposal to the
government for consideration.
PM Wen reiterated his country's plan to join international firms
in bidding for the project and expressed hope the contest would
be transparent and fair.
Thailand has plans for two high-speed railway lines to Chiang
Mai and Nong Khai but has yet to set bidding conditions for the
multi-billion dollar plan.
Many other countries have also expressed an interest in
The Bangkok-Nong Khai railway will link to Laos, to a Laotian
line that will continue to the Chinese border by 2018, making
the line an appealing logistical instrument.
The Chinese leader arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday night for a
24-hour visit while en route back to Beijing after having
attended the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.
During his stay in Bangkok, the premier presided over the
opening ceremony of a Chinese Cultural Centre, the first in
Thailand and made a courtesy call to Privy Council president
Prem Tinsulanonda (เปรม ติณสุลานนท์), and was granted an
audience by His Majesty the King.
Thailand and China yesterday inked four memorandums of
understanding on rice, education, development cooperation, and
In a related development, Prime Minister Yingluck yesterday
asked Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that the three pandas living at
Chiang Mai Zoo be allowed to stay longer, as the agreement for
their care in Thailand expires next year.
Premier Wen reportedly smiled at the request and said he would
ask concerned agencies to consider the request. The pandas - Lin
Hui, Chuang Chuang and their daughter Lin Ping - sent as a
diplomatic gesture from Beijing have become popular in Thailand.
Meanwhile, relevant authorities have expressed belief that the
imminent hike in the minimum daily wage will likely cost some
people their jobs but the number will be relatively low.
Labor Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap commented yesterday that
many industries are facing a shortage of labor, elaborating that
there are more than 300,000 vacancies across the country.
The minister was speaking after the Thai Labor Solidarity
Committee voiced concern that some employers might lay off their
workers before January 1 in a bid to avoid paying higher
severance pay. The Bt300 minimum daily wage goes into effect in
70 provinces from the beginning of 2013.
The Labor Minister assured that due to the current labor
shortage, employers will be reluctant to lay off workers due to
the increased pay rate.
Thailand’s Amata B. Grimm to build 10 power plants for Bt50 billion
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
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)
Fisheries Department on alert for widespread diseases in prawns
PATHUM THANI, Nov 22 - Thailand's Fisheries Department is on
high alert watching out for widespread diseases in prawns during
the change of season from rainy to cool, after numbers of dead
prawns have been found in some areas.
Fisheries director-general Wimol Jantrarotai said at a seminar
that the changing weather is dangerous to the health of the
According to statistics, damage from prawn diseases to shrimp
farming nationwide has so far counted for 11 per cent losses,
reducing production from 520,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes this
year. Prawns produced in October alone decreased 6 per cent,
compared to the same period last year.
Mr Wimol said prawns initially die within a month after being
put in water wells with pale livers, dark chests, and
Diseases found are white spot disease, yellow head disease
(YHD), and could also be diagnosed as Early Mortality Syndrome
(EMS). Academics are speeding up their research to find the
cause of death, and said that EMS has never been found in
Thailand, but was seen in Vietnam, Malaysia, and China.
Mr Wimol said the situation is still controllable and not yet
considered as an epidemic, for it is mostly found the eastern
provinces of Rayong and Chanthaburi.
Fisheries specialists are collecting prawn samples to examine
and are monitoring the situation with prawn farmers for more
efficient disease prevention. (MCOT online news)
Thai rice expert: Latest Thai-Chinese rice deal ‘an empty promise
BANGKOK, Nov 22 – Thailand’s leading economist Ammar Siamwalla
today described the agreement on rice purchases signed Wednesday
by Thailand and China as a “hollow document suitable for putting
in a frame to be hung in the minister’s office.”
His sarcastic remark came on the heels of the government’s
highly-publicised memorandum of understanding between Bangkok
and Beijing during the visit of outgoing Chinese Prime Minister
Wen Jiabao to Thailand.
Dr Ammar, an expert on Thai rice and agricultural economics,
said the latest Thai-Chinese agreement is meaningless for the
Thai government in its rice management policy.
The government has never planned to release its rice stock from
the very beginning despite the Finance Ministry’s repeated
requests for a concrete rice distribution plan, the Thailand
Development and Research Institute (TDRI) economist said.
The volume of rice to be pledged with the government this year
will rise from 8.8 million tonnes to 11.11 million tonnes while
the government has recently added more tonnage, Dr Ammar said.
The total volume of rice in the pledging scheme will be 13.31
The cash-exhausted Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural
Cooperatives (BAAC) has asked the Finance Ministry to guarantee
additional loans of Bt120 billion to Bt161 billion to pledge
rice in the new harvest but the ministry disagreed, according to
the TDRI academic.
The BAAC has resorted to seek loans without the Finance
Ministry’s guaranty which resulted in higher interest, he said,
warning that the BAAC will face sporadic liquidity problems
while rice pledging expense will be higher.
It is the first time in Thailand’s experience that the rice
marketing mechanism has been completely destroyed given the
government’s policy to buy every single grain of rice and
monopolise the paddy and rice markets and rice milling business,
Another TDRI expert, Niphon Puapongsakorn, warned that the
BAAC’s liquidity will be severely tested by the government’s
pledging of rice from the second harvest. (MCOT online news)
Thai Rice Exports dramatically slump
BANGKOK, 22 November 2012 (NNT) - The Thai Rice Exporters
Association has made known that rice exports during first ten
months of this year dropped 10 percent.
The report compared rice exports during the first ten months of
this year and the same period last year to show a drop of 40
percent in quantity and 28 percent in value. It noted however
that export prices were up 17 percent when compared to the mean
price during the same time last year.
Thailand’s top five rice importers this year were Nigeria, Iraq,
Ivory Coast, South Africa, and Indonesia. The association also
pointed out that the export of sticky rice in October jumped
significantly from its previous month, with increased orders
from Africa and India.
The industry association expects 700-thousand tons of rice to be
exported during the last two months of this year, despite higher
competition from Vietnam.
Tax on diesel oil remains unchanged
BANGKOK, Nov 21 – Thailand’s excise tax reduction for diesel oil
will be extended until the end of December, the cabinet decided
Chalitrat Chandrubeksa, deputy spokesman of the Prime Minister’s
Office, said the cabinet’s resolution to maintain the lower
excise tax for another month was aimed at alleviating the public
burden in light of higher fuel prices in the global market.
An informed source said the government will lose Bt9 billion
revenue from the excise tax reduction.
The previous government lowered the excise tax on diesel oil by
Bt0.005/litre, maintaining the diesel price at Bt5.31/litre
while the real market price should be Bt5.83/litre, the source
said. (MCOT online news)
Thailand to allow major foreign ownership in aviation sector
BANGKOK, Nov 21 – Thailand’s obsolete Air Navigation Act,
enforced since 1954, will be amended to allow up to 70 per cent
foreign ownership in aviation-related businesses, according to
Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthiphan.
He said a draft of the new Air Navigation Act, approved
yesterday by the cabinet and set for parliamentary deliberation,
allows foreign companies to engage in aircraft manufacturing,
maintenance and spare parts distribution.
A Thai-based company can accept up to 70 per cent foreign
ownership in accord with the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) agreement on air navigation, and foreign
ownership may be increased to 100 per cent if it involves
aviation business using advanced technology.
The present Air Navigation Act came into law in 1954 setting
maximum foreign ownership at 49 per cent, but the act has failed
to attract foreign investment to Thailand, Mr Chatchart said. He
called for changing the law in accord with the coming ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
The government will encourage the private sector to set up an
aviation industrial estate to prepare Thailand as a logistics
hub for the region, he said, adding that the aviation industry
will boost Thailand’s economic opportunities after the country’s
success in the automotive manufacturing industry.
The transport minister said he invited Rolls-Royce, world leader
in spare parts manufacturing and aircraft maintenance, to invest
in Thailand during his recent trip to the United Kingdom.
He said Rolls-Royce had reservations about the Thai Board of
Investment (BoI) requirement that foreign investors disclose
some confidential technological information, adding that he
would discuss the issue with the BoI. (MCOT online news)
Thailand and China to sign MoU on rice trading
BANGKOK, Nov 21 – Thailand and China will sign a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) today which gives Bangkok more leeway in its
rice export to Beijing.
According to the draft MoU, a three-year time frame, effective
between 2013 and 2015, which is imposed for the Thai-Chinese
rice deal will be lifted. The annual rice export ceiling to
China, set at 5 million tonnes, will also be nullified.
Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra and her Chinese counterpart Wen
Jiapao will witness the signing of bilateral agreements
including the MoU.
The MoU also calls for bilateral cooperation in pursuing rice
trading while both countries will work together to create
stability, fairness and transparency on every level so that
China increases the volume of rice import from Thailand as much
Thailand and China will support their respective state
enterprises and private businesses to expand the global rice
market and eliminate rice trading obstacles for the interest of
both countries. (MCOT online news)
PM asserts no decision on signing of TPP
BANGKOK, Nov 17 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on
Saturday asserted that the government has not made any decisions
on the signing of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic
Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Before leaving for Cambodia to attend the 21st ASEAN Summit and
related meetings in Phnom Penh, Ms Yingluck told reporters that
the government has just shown intention to study the TPP but
have not yet signed anything.
The Commerce Ministry has been assigned to study the pros and
cons and possible impacts that may occur if Thailand signs or
does not sign the agreement, she said.
Any talks on the agreement must be based on the country's
readiness and potential benefits, she said, adding that the deal
must be agreed upon at the cabinet level and required
ratification from the Parliament.
There are four counties in ASEAN that have signed the TPP, and
Thailand has not made any decision over the issue, she said.
Ms Yingluck also affirmed that she would not raised the TPP
issue for discussion with US President Barack Obama when he
visited Thailand on Sunday.
The premier also said regarding the preparations to welcome Mr
Obama that National Police Chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew has
assured that there would be no problems, particularly with
security measures. (MCOT online news)
Prolonged anti-government protest would affect Thailand's GDP growth: Academic
BANGKOK, Nov 17 - A Thai academic said the planned
anti-government rally of the Pitak Siam group next Saturday will
have an impact on the country's economy if it is prolonged or
Thai Chamber of Commerce University's Economic and Business
Forecasting Center director Thanawat Polvichai said the public
must keep a close watch on the Pitak Siam group protest on Nov
24 as the political situation is now in a delicate position.
He said this could result in the slowing of consumer spending
and affect the tourism industry as the protest--which its leader
earlier announced the possibility of the prolonged rally until
the government is toppled--is occurring near the New Year
If the protest remains peaceful, Mr Thanawat said it will not
affect 2012 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is forecasted to
grow at 5.5 percent this year and 4.5 percent in 2013.
Mr Thanawat, however, noted that the 2013 GDP will expand less
than 4 percent and cost about Bt10 billion in losses to the
tourism industry if the protests turn violent and lead to a
change of the government.
Meanwhile, deputy chairman Pornsilp Patcharintanakul of the Thai
Chamber of Commerce said the private sector is worried and does
not want to see any political demonstrations.
He explained that the peaceful political gatherings under the
rule of law are acceptable, but if they are prolonged and/or
violent, this will impact confidence of foreign investors,
affecting the trade, investment and tourism industries.
Particularly on tourism, Mr Pornsilp said Thailand expects Bt2.2
trillion of revenue from the industry within the next two years,
a figure almost equal to the entire budget of the country each
He added the private sector does not want see any political
chaos which could lead to violence, as had happened a few years
ago. (MCOT online news)
Private sector asks government to hold off minimum wage hike
BANGKOK, Nov 16 – Thailand’s private sector today called on the
government to delay implementation of the Bt300 daily minimum
wage nationwide, originally scheduled for Jan 1 next year, by
two years to 2015, warning that otherwise the majority of
country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be forced out
Sommat Khunset, secretary general of the Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI), said 90 per cent of SME operators, especially
labour-intensive businesses, have expressed concern about the
Bt300 minimum wage which they say will double their production
Citing the northern province of Payao where the daily minimum
wage is Bt159, he said that with a sharp increase to Bt300 it
will be impossible for operators to survive.
He said the government should announce assistance measures for
operators affected by the minimum wage increase so that they can
carry on their businesses, adding that business operators should
be granted low-interest loans while loan-seeking conditions are
Another measure is a compensation scheme in which the government
absorbs 75 per cent of the wage increase in the first year, 50
per cent in the second year and 25 per cent in the third year
while the private sector pays 25, 50 and 75 per cent of the
increase amount in the first to third year.
He said additional assistance measures will be discussed Monday
before submitting a proposal to the government for its
consideration. (MCOT online news)
THAI Smile Air to separate from flag carrier THAI
Public protest against Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement escalates
BANGKOK, Nov 16 – Fourteen Thai social activist groups have
jointly submitted an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra, calling on the government to refrain from
negotiations with the US for membership in the Trans-Pacific
Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).
The letter, endorsed by the Free Trade Agreement Watch and 13
health-related non-governmental organisations, said the
negotiations should not be held until studies on its merits and
negatives are clear to all parties in society and consultations
are sought from the people.
The groups warned the government against rushing into a decision
with the single mindset of jumping on the ‘trade bandwagon’
which may eventually put the welfare of the people and the
nation’s sustainable development into jeopardy.
They said the cabinet’s abrupt decision to negotiate with the US
will severely affect the country’s economic and social
stability, charging that the TPP will favour the interest of US
multinational companies which had been rejected in other
international trade organisations. (MCOT online news)
MCOT reports growth in 3rd quarter profits
BANGKOK, Nov 15 – MCOT, Thailand’s leading public broadcaster,
today reported a 30 per cent jump in its profit from TV and
radio operations in the third quarter of this year.
MCOT president Anek Permvongseni said the Bt481 million profit
in the third quarter contributed to a net profit of Bt 1.283
billion in the first nine months of this year, representing a 3
per cent increase from the same period of last year.
The higher profit was mainly from TV revenue which increased by
24 per cent, he said, adding that MCOT had tapped more viewers
during the Olympics live broadcast while other revenues were
from MCOT-produced shows and advertorial programmes to publicise
activities of the public and private sectors.
Radio operations reported an 8 per cent growth in the third
quarter thanks mainly to social activities in Bangkok and
upcountry by FM 95, FM 97.5 and FM 107.
Mr Anek pointed out that MCOT is taking a significant step
towards digital television to generate more viewers in Thailand.
He disclosed that MCOT will cooperate with the National
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission in launching a
trial digital broadcasting next month for better reception among
Thai audiences. (MCOT online news)
Thai private sector welcomed to invest in Uganda
BANGKOK, Nov 16 – Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has
urged Thai businessmen to invest in his country, assuring
potential investors of his nation’s sufficient supply of raw
materials and economic efficiency.
He made the overture in a meeting between Thai and Uganda
investors, which was jointly organised by the Thai Board of
Investment and the Foreign Ministry at a Bangkok hotel on
The Ugandan leader said his country welcomed Thai investments in
food processing and agricultural industries, adding that Thai
investors can also use Uganda as a springboard for business and
export opportunities in other eastern African countries. (MCOT
Thai central bank warns: Be careful of Trans-Pacific Partnership
BANGKOK, Nov 15 – Thailand must be cautious and thoroughly study
the pros and cons of the US-initiated Trans-Pacific Strategic
Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), Bank of Thailand (BoT)
governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul warned today.
Referring to the government’s planned
with the US on the TPP during President Barack Obama’s visit to
Thailand on Sunday and Monday, Mr Prasarn said he has yet to
look into details of the agreement but a preliminary study found
both pros and cons for Thailand.
“We must aim for the best interest of the country and determine
how TPP membership will connect Thailand with the coming ASEAN
Economic Community (AEC),” he said.
He pointed out that the AEC will link Thailand more with other
countries in the region which shared similar economic size and
TPP is different in terms of economic size especially in the
financial sector given the liberalisation of finance and banking
service, said Mr Prasarn, adding that Thai financial institutes
are not as strong as those in the US.
Thai banks are capable of competing with their foreign
counterparts domestically but overseas competitions are tougher
due to their smaller capital base, he said.
Citing rapid change in today’s financial sector, the BoT
governor said Thailand’s financial stability and security must
On the readiness of Thai financial institutes in light of the
AEC, Mr Prasarn said central banks of ASEAN countries are
working on standardised measures for commercial banks to operate
in other member countries.
Thai financial institutes should start opening banks in other
ASEAN countries next year, ahead of the 2020 schedule, he
concluded. (MCOT online news)
Thai AirAsia gives Don Mueang a ‘thumbs-up’
BANGKOK, Nov 15 – Thai AirAsia is greatly satisfied with service
at Don Mueang airport since its relocation from a crowded
Suvarnabhumi Airport on Oct 1.
Chief operating officer Tassapon Bijleveld of Thai AirAsia said
service has been smooth with only a few minor problems -- long
waiting lines for taxis and insufficient food shops which the
Airports of Thailand (AoT) quickly solved.
Thai AirAsia has informed AoT that it needs an expanded the
passenger terminal in the near future since the budget airline,
which currently has eight million passengers a year, will see an
increase to 10 million next year.
Terminal 1 has a capacity to receive 18.5 million passengers a
Combined with passengers from other airlines, Terminal 1 will be
on the brink of full capacity next year and the AoT will need to
prepare for it, he said.
Mr Tassapon said Don Mueang has become Thai AirAsia’s
springboard in the region with flights to various Chinese cities
starting from here including Bangkok-Chongqing, Bangkok-Macau,
Bangkok-Wuhan and Bangkok-Xi’an.
The airline will open three to four new routes to China next
year, he said, adding that 2.8 million Chinese tourists visited
Thailand this year, representing one-third of Thai AirAsia
Thai AirAsia has cooperated with the Tourism Authority of
Thailand, King Power Group and the Mall Group hosting trips to
Thailand for media from five Chinese cities: Wuhan, Chongqing,
Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Macau.
Media visitors learn first-hand of Thailand’s interesting
destinations and the readiness of Don Mueang airport in
providing service to international travellers, he said. (MCOT
TPP to put Thailand at competitive edge: academic
BANGKOK, Nov 14 – Thailand’s membership in the Trans Pacific
Partnership (TPP), approved by the cabinet on Monday, will place
the country in a more competitive position in trading and
investment, a Thai academic said today.
Aat Pisanwanich, Director of the International Trade Studies
Centre, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the TPP
will be advantageous to Thailand as it will be free from having
to seek the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) since there
is no export tariff.
He said neighbouring Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia have become
TPP members, adding that the membership will be help
agricultural and processed food sectors, as well the service
sector (banks and hotels) and the information technology sector.
The government will negotiate Thailand’s possible TPP membership
during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Thailand this
Dr Aat said the process in becoming a TPP member may take at
least two years given the government’s obligation to thoroughly
study the pros and cons before seeking Parliament’s endorsement
as imposed in Section 190 of the constitution.
He expressed concern that Thai small and medium enterprises will
find it hard to adjust and compete in the global market. (MCOT
TPP to be signed, rice trade zone to be established, Xayaburi power bought
BANGKOK, 14 November 2012 (NNT) - The Thai government has agreed
to join negotiations in a United States-led free trade agreement
(FTA) in a move to be formally announced during US President
Barack Obama's visit to the Kingdom on Sunday.
Thailand's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will
be a highlight of the visit by the US president.
The TPP is a proposed regional FTA being negotiated by the US
and several Asia-Pacific nations, including Australia, Canada,
Vietnam, Mexico and six other countries.
The agreement is aimed at liberalizing trade in nearly all goods
and services and includes commitments beyond those currently
established in the World Trade Organization.
The cabinet agreed on Monday to the proposal tabled by the
Ministry of Commerce to have Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
announce the pact in a joint press statement with President
The agreement would lead to fewer tariffs on Thai exports to the
US and would eliminate Thailand's reliance on the US’s
Generalized System of Preferences.
At the same time, the cabinet approved a Commerce Ministry plan
to develop a rice trade partnership with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar
and Vietnam to stabilize international rice prices.
According to deputy government spokesman Pakdihan Himathongkam
the ministry's proposal involves the creation of a rice trade
zone with the neighboring countries.
The plan will include meetings with government officials from
all five countries as well as representatives from the ASEAN
rice cooperation committee and ASEAN rice millers and traders'
Closer commercial and governmental cooperation built into the
rice trade zone is expected to stabilize rice prices in global
markets, promote food security in the region, and prevent the
smuggling of rice from neighboring nations.
The cabinet asked the Ministry of Commerce to form a working
group to arrange and plan for the creation of the trade zones.
The rice trade zone project has been initially planned to begin
with Cambodia and will involve rice trade in the border areas of
Thailand and Cambodia, including the provinces of Buri Ram, Si
Sa Ket, Sa Kaeo, Prachin Buri and Chachoengsao. The Cabinet also
approved a 12-billion baht budget to build facilities to receive
electricity from the Xayaburi Dam, currently undergoing
construction in Laos.
The facilities, which will be used to obtain, store and relay
the electricity, will be built in Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu and Khon
Kaen provinces and will be operated by the Electricity
Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
The Cabinet has instructed EGAT to adjust the timing of the
construction and related projects to suit contingency plans
regarding the electricity purchase deal, in order that good
relations with Cambodia and Vietnam - which oppose the Xayaburi
Dam project - are maintained, without affecting acquisition of
electricity and various agreements with Laos.
Chinese Premier to visit Thailand Nov 20-21
BANGKOK, Nov 14 - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Bangkok
as a guest of the Thai government next Tuesday and Wednesday,
holding bilateral talks with his Thai counterpart to boost the
ties between the two countries.
The Chinese leader's visit comes at an invitation of Thai Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The Nov 20-21 visit is considered
the first official trip of the outgoing Chinese premier to the
The two prime ministers will discuss and exchange views to
promote bilateral relations and cooperation between Thailand and
China as earlier agreed in the "Joint Statement Between the
People’s Republic of China and Thailand on Establishing a
Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership" during Ms
Yingluck's visit to China in April.
The Chinese and Thai leaders are scheduled to witness the
signing of several agreements between their countries on
education, prisoners' extradition. They will also attend the
inauguration of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Bangkok.
The Chinese premier will also meet Privy Council president Prem
Tinsulanonda at his Si Sao Thewes Residence on the evening of
Nov 21 before being granted an audience with His Majesty King
Bhumibol Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital, the last programme of
his two-day visit.
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's visit comes only one day after an
official visit of US President Barack Obama, scheduled to visit
Thailand on Sunday and meet with Ms Yingluck at Government House
the same day.
Mr Obama will also be granted an audience with the Thai monarch
Sunday evening and spend the night in Bangkok before leaving for
Myanmar and Cambodia, as part of his Southeast Asian tour, the
first overseas trip since he was re-elected as US president.
(MCOT online news)
Karen leader reopens border crossings
TAK, Nov 14 – An ethnic army which closed the Thai-Myanmar
border earlier this week has reopened the checkpoints, allowing
trade to resume and local residents to cross.
The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army ( DKBA) reopened Thai-Myanmar
border crossings in Tak’s Phop Phra and Umphang districts after
Thai immigration police released two of the Karen leader’s
nieces who were detained for illegal entry to Thailand.
However, legal action was taken against their driver for
facilitating illegal entry.
The border closure was in response to the detention of two of
Karen leader Maj-Gen Na Kham Mwe nieces.
The two women were travelling by car from Myawaddy to and area
opposite Phop Phra district on the Mae Sot-Umphang Road when
they were detained by Thai police at a checkpoint.
The four passengers in the vehicle were the general’s
mother-in-law, his aunt and two nieces, none of whom had travel
documents. The Thai authorities detained the two nieces, but
released his 70-year-old mother-in-law and his aunt.
Gen Na Kham Mwe is number five on Thailand's most wanted list of
drug kingpins. He earlier ordered his forces to close 15 border
crossings to ban Thai nationals and vehicles from entering Thai
side, but does not ban Myanmar nationals from entering the Thai
side. (MCOT online news)
Thai PM to attend ASEAN Summit in Cambodia
BANGKOK, Nov 14 -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will
attend the 21st ASEAN Summit and related meetings Sunday through
Tuesday next week in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs' ASEAN Department director
general Attayut Srisamut said that in addition to the November
18-20 21st ASEAN Summit, regional leaders will also join
meetings with key Dialogue Partners China, Japan, South Korea,
India, and the United States as well as the ASEAN Plus Three
Summit and the East Asia Summit (EAS).
Ms Yingluck will also participate in the first ASEAN Global
The upcoming Summits aim to review the progress and push forward
various areas of cooperation in ASEAN, as well as between ASEAN
and Dialogue Partners, and to provide an opportunity for leaders
to exchange views on important regional and international
The issues to be discussed at the summit include ASEAN community
building-- implementing blueprints for the three pillars and
Master Plan on ASEAN connectivity, its Human Rights Declaration
to be adopted by ASEAN leaders, appointing a new ASEAN
secretary-general to succeed Dr Surin Pitsuwan whose term ends
The Summits with Dialogue Partners will review likely future
cooperation, and exchange views on regional and international
issues. The ASEAN Global Dialogue will be conducted under the
theme “Role of multilateral institutions, ASEAN and East Asia in
addressing economic and financial disorder.”
During the summit, ASEAN and its Free Trade Agreement partners
China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand
will join the launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP) negotiations during the upcoming summits.
The summits expect 11 outcome documents, including the ASEAN
Human Rights Declaration, ASEAN-China Joint Statement on the
10th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in
the South China Sea: Enhancing Peace, Friendship and
Cooperation, Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Partnership
on Connectivity, Phnom Penh Declaration on East Asia Summit
Development Initiative, and the Joint Declaration on Launching
the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Negotiation.
(MCOT online news)
Promotional Campaign for Thai Rice on the Occasion of Prime Minister’s Visit to the United Kingdom
A promotional campaign for Thai rice, especially Hom Mali rice,
will be launched in London on the occasion of Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra’s visit to the United Kingdom.
The Prime Minister will pay an official visit to the United
Kingdom on November 12-14.
During her visit, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by
representatives of the private sector who will explore trade
opportunities with their UK counterparts. On this occasion, the
President of Thailand Trade Representative, Office of the Prime
Minister, Mr. Olarn Chaipravat (โอฬาร ไชยประวัติ), is leading a
group of Thai rice exporters and officials from the Department
of Foreign Trade to visit London from November 11 to 16.
Mr. Olarn said that he had been assigned by the Prime Minister
to help promote the marketing of high-quality Thai rice,
especially Hom Mali Rice and organic rice. London has been
selected as the first country for the promotional campaign for
Thai rice, coinciding with the official visit of the Prime
Minister to the United Kingdom.
On November 13, Prime Minister Yingluck will deliver a keynote
address on “Thailand: Unparalleled Opportunities” during a
luncheon with British and Thai business people at the Grosvenor
House Hotel. On the following day, she is scheduled to preside
over the opening of the Thai Rice and Thai Select fair at TESCO
store in Kennington.
Mr. Olarn said that the campaign for Thai rice is aimed at
making Thai rice better known among European consumers. In fact,
Thai Hom Mali rice is already popular among Asians. The group of
Thai rice exporters will meet and discuss with members of the
London Rice Broker Association, which have networks in other
European markets and Africa. The discussion will pave the way
for the expansion of Hom Mali rice markets to various countries
in Europe, Africa, and even the Middle East.
During the visit, Thailand and the United Kingdom will initiate
the establishment of Strategic Dialogue as a new mechanism to
strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation. The issue will
be discussed and approved by the Prime Ministers of both
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague recently paid a visit to
Thailand to discuss preparations for Prime Minister Yingluck’s
visit to the United Kingdom and the opportunities of increasing
bilateral trade and investment. He also presided over a signing
of an anti-corruption pledge by a number of British companies in
Thailand and Thailand’s Coalition against Corruption.
Among European Union countries, the United Kingdom is the
largest group of foreign investors in Thailand. About one
million tourists from the United Nations visit Thailand each
Blue Flag” markets selling low-cost goods set countryside
BANGKOK, Nov 14 – ‘Blue Flag’ markets selling goods at budget
prices will be held in all districts countryside at least once a
year following public requests.
Wiboonluk Ruamruk, director-general of the Internal Trade
Department, said Blue Flag markets help reduce the cost of
living for the public. The department was allocated Bt190
million to implement the project in all districts of Bangkok and
in major provinces.
The biggest event at the national level will be at Muang Thong
Thani and at Sanam Luang 2.
Ms Wiboonluk said the department has been asked by the public,
particularly in the provinces, to organise Blue Flag markets to
help people buy goods at lower prices than otherwise available
on the open market.
The department will seek cooperation from more traders to
participate in the reduced-price goods sales promotions to
feature goods and to cut consumer spending.(MCOT online news)
Malaysian locomotives for Thai railway service
BANGKOK, Nov 14 – Two locomotives will be leased from Malaysia
to boost Thailand’s railway service which has worsened due to an
inadequate number of available engines, new State Railway of
Thailand (SRT) governor Prapas Chongsa-nguan said today.
Taking office at the SRT today, he met with managers to outline
his four-point policy and stress the urgency in procuring new
engines, passenger carriages, freight cars and transport
platforms which has made little progress given the government
budget allocation of Bt 170 billion.
Mr Prapas said ordering new locomotives takes several years, too
long a timeframe considering passenger requirements. An
immediate alternative, he said, is to rent rolling stock from
Malaysia as both countries share the same track width.
“An insufficiency of locomotives has compelled SRT to suspend
some routes. If the problem is resolved, train service will be
back to normal and right on schedule,” he said.
Highlighting his four-point policy is an ambitious high-speed
train which is the government’s top agenda priority. He said he
would convince the government that SRT can operate a high-speed
Mr Prapas urged railway staff to cooperate in improving the
organisation and railway service while promising to upgrade
working condition and employee benefits.
SRT properties nationwide will be fully used to generate more
revenue. Included is a planned discussion with PTT Public Co on
a rental fee for its headquarters on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
PTT’s headquarters has occupied SRT rent-free property for some
years thanks to an internal governmental agreement between the
two agencies. The arrangement was made before PTT changed from
state enterprise to public company. (MCOT online news)
Higher minimum wage a blow to Thai SMEs
BANGKOK, Nov 13 – Thailand’s enforcement of the new Bt300 daily
minimum wage since April has taken its toll on Thailand’s small
and medium enterprises (SMEs) after more than 100 companies have
closed, a businessman said today.
Jirabool Vithayasingh, secretary general of the Thai Lifestyle
Products Federation (TLPF), said the country’s 3,000 SMEs have
had to bear a higher financial burden by 40 per cent after the
Combined with higher raw materials and transportation costs, the
SME capital overhead has increased by 50 per cent, he said.
He predicted more SMEs will close when another round of minimum
wage increase is implemented on Jan 1, indicating that over 100
SMEs are currently on a tightrope.
Mr Jirabool called on the government to improve the quality of
Thai labour and allow SME operators’ accessibility to financial
sources so that they can carry on their businesses.
“We do not disagree with the Bt300 daily minimum wage but we
want the government to review assistance measures to SMEs,” he
He said that the export of lifestyle products will reach Bt 90
billion this year, representing a 3 per cent increase
year-on-year but “it’s a growth with less profit.”
Despite a 10 per cent decrease in the first nine months of this,
the US remains Thailand’s major market, followed by Japan which
sees a 12 per cent increase and Eurozone on the minus side due
to the debt crisis.
Thailand’s exports of lifestyle products has enjoyed growth in
new markets like China, India, the Middle East and Southeast
Asia—the latter increasing by 30 per cent.
He predicted a 5-8 per cent export growth, or a total value of
over Bt90 billion, for lifestyle products next year. (MCOT
Thailand Striving to Become a Gem and Jewelry Trading Hub
Gem and jewelry producers have been urged to focus on creative
manufacturing, as Thailand is striving to become one of the
world’s gem and jewelry hubs.
Director-General of the Department of International Trade
Promotion, Srirat Rastapana (ศรีรัตน์ รัษฐปานะ), said that the
public and private sectors had met constantly to prepare
Thailand in various sectors for achieving the goal of becoming a
global gem and jewelry trading center.
Toward this aim, she said, the Department of International Trade
Promotion has set strategies for developing and promoting the
Thai gem and jewelry industry. The strategies include enhancing
the competitiveness of the industry in terms of production,
processing, designing, and management. They also seek to study
marketing in foreign markets and develop personnel in the gem
and jewelry business to cope with business expansion.
In this regard, she said, Thai entrepreneurs need to develop
their products with an emphasis on quality and creativity, so
that Thai gems and jewelry products would gain more recognition
in the world market.
As creativity is found in the production of Thai gems and
jewelry, these products have been classified as creative goods.
The Government has a policy to develop and promote Thai gems and
jewelry in order to add value to these creative goods for
entrepreneurs, designers, and craftsmen.
The gemstone and jewelry industry is also among Thailand’s top
foreign exchange earners. It generates employment for 1.1
million people in the country.
Mrs. Srirat said that, from January to September this year, Thai
gem and jewelry exports amounted to 10.9 billion US dollars, an
increase of 11 percent over the same period of last year. Major
markets with more export growth include Hong Kong, Germany, and
Japan. The global economic slowdown has led to the decline in
Thai gem and jewelry exports to the United States by 9 percent,
India by 22 percent, and Belgium by 0.3 percent. However,
exports to emerging markets, such as the United Arab Emirates
and Lebanon are on the rise.
Thailand successfully exported 12.3 billion dollars of gems and
jewelry products last year. Exporters hope to maintain exports
this year at close to the level of last year.
Thailand is famous for the fine craftsmanship of its jewelers,
especially in setting each piece of jewelry by hand. The quality
of Thai gems and jewelry, with a variety of materials and
designs, is also recognized internationally. All types of
manufacturing processes are available in Thailand, from mass
production to fine handcrafted pieces of jewelry.
The Government will launch campaigns to promote the image of
Thai gems and jewelry, and it will ask the private sector to
help provide training for skill development in this industry.
Five suburban hubs planned
BANGKOK, 14 November 2012 (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan
Administration (BMA) announced a plan to decentralize the growth
of urban areas by designating five locations around the capital
as commercial areas.
Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning
committee member Preecha Ronnarong said the development plans,
including new mass-transit lines and high-rise building
projects, are to be launched in Bang Na, Bang Khen, Ram-Indra,
Min Buri and Taling Chan districts.
Mr. Preecha said the plan will be implemented by May of next
year, elaborating that it would also allow private developers to
construct underground rail junctions.
He suggested that Bangkok and nearby provinces, such as
Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, adopt a unified development plan to
Thailand’s elite card refuses to die
BANGKOK, Nov 13 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has
mapped out an ambitious plan to recruit 10,000 new members for
the ‘elite card’—a scheme which had ‘gone silent’, but is now to
be resurrected following cabinet approval yesterday.
The cabinet action allows a maximum expense of Bt100 million
from the remaining registered capital of Thailand Privilege Card
(TPC) Co for the revived operation which includes recruitment of
a manager, personnel and management.
It should take three months to fully launch the project after
which the company should have sufficient cash flow from the
sales of membership, according to deputy government spokesman
As the sole owner of TPC, the national tourism agency projects
10,000 new members in the next 10 years, with each paying a
one-time membership fee of Bt 2 million plus an annual fee of Bt
20,000. A membership is valid for 20 years.
The status-bearing TPC currently has 2,562 members.
TAT plans to recruit 1,300 members in the first year of the
revived programme (2013), 1,200 members in the second year,
1,100 members in the third year, 1,000 members in the fourth to
seventh years, 900 members in the eighth year, 800 members in
the ninth year and 700 members in the tenth or final year.
It hopes to earn Bt2.016 billion after the first year but the
loss remains at Bt 117 million due to the accumulated deficit of
TPC should make a Bt 242 million profit in 2014 and pay off the
accumulated deficit by 2017. In 2042 when the elite card turns
20 years, TPC should have Bt 2.280 billion in cash or a profit
of Bt 1.095 billion. (MCOT online news)
Bangkok’s No 1 shopping zone to be spared from political rally
BANGKOK, Nov 12 – A leading Thai business operator at
Ratchaprasong, Bangkok’s top shopping avenue, today allayed fears of a
mass rally by the anti-government Pitak Siam group later this month,
saying he expected it to be a peaceful demonstration within the
framework of the law.
Chai Srivikorn, president of the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association,
said he did not believe the Nov 24th political rally will lead to a
repeat of the month-long demonstration at Ratchaprasong in mid-2010.
He said business at Ratchaprasong has already returned to the level of
its peak in 2009 while tourists from the US and Europe have opted out to
be replaced by those from China, India and Russia.
The occupancy rate at area hotels is 80-90 per cent, and hotel rooms are
fully booked until early next month, he said. He was optimistic
regarding tourists’ confidence on Thailand, adding that Ratchaprasong
has been ranked one of the top ten suitable locations for a New Year’s
countdown in Bangkok.
Mr Chai painted a rosy prospect for Thailand’s tourism next year thanks
to the improving economic situation in the U.S. and higher purchasing
power among neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
The association has joined with four public and private organisations in
holding the “Happiness is all around @ Ratchaprasong” campaign during
the holiday season and expected to attract more than 16 million tourists
to the shopping hub and generate a total revenue of more than Bt13
A Bt80-100 million budget will be allocated for the campaign and more
than 3,000 shops will offer up to 70 per cent discounts, he said.
The traditional Thai ceremony of offering alms to monks will be carried
out on BTS Skytrain stations on New Year’s morning, while Ratchaprasong
will be colourfully illuminated during the festive season, he said.
(MCOT online news)
Cabinet approves mechanism, special zone for ASEAN rice
BANGKOK, Nov 12 – Thailand’s Cabinet today approved establishment of a
cooperative mechanism for the ASEAN rice market and a special zone for
ASEAN rice trade as proposed by the Commerce Ministry.
Government deputy spokesman Pakdiharn Himathongkam said such measures
will help retain stable rice prices in the world market, create
sustainable food security in the region, prevent rice smuggling from
Thailand's neighbouring countries, and efficiently develop the quality
of rice of ASEAN countries.
The Cabinet also agreed to the result of the first Thai-Myanmar Joint
High Level Committee (JHC) meeting on the Dawei special economic zone,
approving eight urgent projects -- roads, a deep-sea port, industrial
estates, a first-phase power plant, water treatment system,
telecommunication, community development and migration, and a high-speed
Related agencies are to follow up with further meeting results.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet agreed in principle to provide financial
assistance, initially at Bt1.4 billion, to the Lao PDR to spend on a
development project and road construction in Thailand's northern
province of Phayao and the Lao PDR. Neighbouring countries Economic
Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) was assigned to study details of
The Cabinet also approved in principle to buy stock at a budget of Bt102
million by the Thai government to increase the capital of Asia
Reinsurance Corporation. (MCOT online news)
Thailand, South Korea agree to expand trade to US$30 bln within 5 years
BANGKOK, Nov 10 -- Thailand and South Korea agreed on Saturday to work
closely together to expand bilateral trade volume to US$30 billion by
2016 as their leaders pledged to upgrade relations between the two
countries to a "strategic partnership."
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and visiting South Korean
President Lee Myung-bak reached the agreement during bilateral talks in
Mr Lee, who arrived in Bangkok on Friday, is the first South Korean
president to make an official bilateral visit to Thailand in 31 years.
According to the joint statement after the talks, the leaders also
agreed to "serious efforts" to conclude a trade and economic cooperation
"action plan" for 2013-2017 at an early date to further energise trade
and minimise trade barriers. They asked the joint trade committee of
both sides to start negotiations as soon as possible.
Trade between South Korea and Thailand reached an all-time high of $13.9
billion last year.
Bangkok and Seoul have agreed to seek preliminary discussions and a
joint study about forging a comprehensive economic partnership agreement
in order to strengthen economic links between the two countries, said
the joint statement.
Ms Yingluck and Mr Lee have welcomed cooperation in various Thai
infrastructure projects, especially its water management system,
high-speed train line, power plant development projects and the Dawei
deep sea port project.
During her visit to South Korea in March, Ms Yingluck expressed keen
interest in South Korea's project to revive its four major rivers in a
way that prevents floods, preserves water resources and promotes tourism
along the waterways.
South Korea has expressed interest in importing rice from Thailand in
response to higher demand while many Thais fruits including mango,
longan and pomelo are also favourite choices for South Koreans.
Both leaders also called for launching aviation talks at an early date
to facilitate people-to-people exchanges and transfers of goods and
services at a time when the number of people visiting each other's
nation topped 1.3 million last year.
After the meeting at Government House, Mr Lee toured the Chao Praya
River and the Lad Pho canal, a move seen as underlining South Korea's
willingness to share its water management experience and know-how.
Thailand is working on a massive $11.3 billion project to build a
large-scale water management system.
Mr Lee is scheduled to return home on Sunday. (MCOT online news)
Rice pledging scheme vehemently criticised again
BANGKOK, Nov 12 – Public dissent against the highly-criticised
rice pledging scheme has escalated with noted public figures
issuing fresh warnings, charging the government with running the
country into serious debt.
Former deputy prime minister Pridiyadhorn Devakula said farmers
will benefit from the scheme but long term stocks of rice will
reduce its quality and incur financial losses.
With a combined 21.95 million tonnes of rice in government
stockpiles, the loss will be as great as Bt140 billion, he said,
adding that the public debt will be as high as 47.8 per cent of
gross domestic product (GDP) and it will increase to 49.9 per
cent of GDP by the end of this year.
If the government carries on the project into next year, public
debt will skyrocket to 61 per cent of GDP, he warned.
Mr Pridiyadhorn expressed concern that other countries will have
less confidence in Thailand and that the Thai currency will also
Academic ignorance, combined with corruption, is twice as
dangerous to the country, he said, adding that it is most
difficult to salvage the country’s loss of credibility in the
face of the international community’s lack of confidence in
Nipon Poapongsakorn, a senior academic at the Thailand
Development and Research Institute (TDRI), said the government
has breached its agreement with the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) as it has set an intervention ceiling for the rice market
at 3-4 million tonnes but Thailand has gone far beyond the
promised figure and the government has not disclosed any
information on the rice deal to the public.
Warning against the rice-for-train barter contract with China,
he said brokers of both countries will benefit for both the rice
and train deals.
The government, he said, has lost Bt172 billion since the start
of the rice pledging scheme while benefits to farmers were only
Bt110 billion, and rice mills and warehouse operators earned big
profits of Bt21.38 billion and Bt2.313 billion respectively.
The longer rice is stocked, the lower its quality becomes, as it
deteriorates, and losing quality will cost nearly Bt10.5 billion
while the government also has to pay interest of Bt14.45 billion
for loans with financial institutes, he said.
Dr Nipon called on the Commerce Ministry to leave it to the
private sector and the market mechanism, and refrain from
intervention in selling rice to Cambodia.
The Finance Ministry admits it has just Bt150 billion budget for
next year’s rice pledging scheme and there is concern that the
Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) must
bear the financial burden since the cost of the scheme will
exceed Bt300 billion.
Chookiat Opaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice
Exporters Association, described the government’s planned
purchase of 4 million tones of rice from Cambodia as ridiculous.
“Where will we stock the rice? Buying rice from Cambodia does
not put Thailand on a competitive edge with Vietnam,” he said.
With the government’s announcement to export 8.5 million tonnes
of rice, and buying white rice at US$800/tonne, it will be
impossible for Thailand to compete with Vietnam which sells rice
In the global market, the US sells rice at US$600/tonne,
Thailand at US$580/tonne, Vietnam at US$450/tonne, India and
Pakistan at US$440/tonne while Myanmar has started to export at
US$400/tonne, he said.
The government will only lose if it pledges rice at
US$800/tonne, he said, adding that the government has more than
10 million tonnes of rice in stock, excluding rice from the new
harvest which will add to the stock. (MCOT online news)
Thai gem, jewellry exports in first 9 months valued at US$10 bln, 11% growth: Commerce Ministry
BANGKOK, Nov 11 - Commerce Ministry says Thailand's gem and
jewellry exports in the first 9 months of 2012 was valued at
US$10.9 billion, accounting for an 11 percent growth
International Trade Promotion Department director-general Srirat
Rastapana said increasing exports were due to constant meetings
with the public and private sectors on the readiness and
preparedness to push Thailand to become a world centre for gems
However, Ms Srirat said the US$10.9 billion export value did not
include unworked gold, which was separately worth some US$4.9
The value of Thai gem and jewellery exports in existing main
markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, and Germany and in new markets
like UAE and Lebanon increased, while the US, Belgium, and India
markets decreased 9, 0.31, and 22 percent respectively, owing to
the troubled economy and import tax adjustment on gem and
jewellery in India.
High export growth was seen in UAE at 41 percent; Germany, 48
percent; Austria 58 percent; Singapore 92 percent, and Lebanon
261 percent. (MCOT online news)
Thai GDP grows 3.3% in Q3, exports shrink 3%
BANGKOK, Oct 31 – The Thai economy in the third quarter grew at
a slower pace of 3.3 per cent with exports contracting 3 per
cent compared to the same period last year, according to the
Bank of Thailand (BoT).
The economy continued to be weighed down by the weakening global
economy. Manufacturing production in export-oriented industries
exhibited a continued contraction, in tandem with deteriorating
exports in these industries, the BoT said in its statement.
Thai exports in the first nine months of this year contracted
0.9 per cent after in September alone, it dropped 7.9 per cent,
according to Mathee Supapongse, Senior Director in the
Macroeconomic and Monetary Policy Department,.
Mr Mathee said, however, it is believed that in the fourth
quarter, Thai exports will improve, compared to their low
fundamentals last year when Thai exports were suspended by the
Thai exports have already touched bottom and in the next 3-6
months, are likely to be stable. It is estimated that 2013
exports will expand 9 per cent on the condition that exports in
the second half of 2013 will recover. This year’s exports are
projected to grow by 4.4 per cent.
Thai export markets in ASEAN countries fell 11.7 per cent, in
China 14.7 per cent and in Europe 15.5 per cent. (MCOT online