Thai court orders park chief arrested in activist's murder
An undated photo of Billy provided by his wife
Phinnapa Prueksaphan. (AP)
BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court on Monday issued arrest warrants for the
former head of a major national park and three park employees accused of
killing an ethnic Karen environmental activist.
The Department of Special Investigation announced that
a special court for state officials approved the warrants in the case of
Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, who was last seen in the custody of Kaeng Krachan
National Park officials in western Thailand in April 2014.The four face
several related charges as well, including holding a person against his
will, robbery and concealing a corpse.
Porlajee, also known as Billy, had led the Karen
community in a lawsuit against park chief Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn over his
efforts to evict them by burning their homes inside the park — where they
had lived for generations — along with their possessions.
Chaiwat claimed Porlajee had been arrested for
illegally collecting wild honey and had been released with a warning before
Porlajee's burnt remains were discovered this year in
an oil drum sunk in a reservoir and were identified by DNA tests. Until
then, his disappearance was treated by the authorities as a missing person
The Bangkok Post newspaper reported Monday that Chaiwat,
who now heads a conservation area in Thailand's northeast, said he had not
seen the warrant but was not worried and would not try to escape. He has
consistently maintained his innocence.
The case has been on a list compiled by the U.N. High
Commissioner for Human Rights of 82 victims of forced disappearance in
Thailand since the 1980s, which includes activists critical of state policy
"None of these cases have been resolved, and no one has
been prosecuted," the New York-based group Human Rights Watch noted on Aug.
30, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. "A key
reason for this is that Thailand's penal code does not recognize enforced
disappearance as a criminal offense. Thailand has signed but has yet to
ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from
Porlajee, who was 30 years old when he disappeared, is
survived by his wife, Phinnapha Phrueksaphan, and their five children.
PM Prayut visits Ratchaburi, says government works for all people
Chan-ocha in Ratchaburi.
RATCHABURI (NNT) - Prime
Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, has insisted that the
government is committed to resolving all problems, and people in all
provinces must benefit from this democratically-elected government.
The Prime Minister together with a group of officials
visited Ratchaburi province on Monday (Nov 11) to inspect the work being
carried out by government agencies. During his visit, Gen. Prayut said he is
a democratically-elected premier, who received the majority of votes from
Members of Parliament and Senators. He said the MPs represent the people in
their areas and there are no divisions among them. Policies of all political
parties can be presented to the government. If they are in line with the
government’s policies, they will be implemented and the local people will
benefit from them in the end.
The Prime Minister visited the Ratchaburi Provincial
Adminsitrative Organization to witness the Natural Resources and Environment
Minister, Varawut Silpa-archa, presenting certificates of permission to the
provincial governor. The certificates will allow local communities to earn a
living on particular plots of land. Gen. Prayut then proceeded to Damnoen
Saduak district to observe the progress of a canal development project and
the marine tourism development project, aimed at promoting the agricultural
way of life and the local culture. He then traveled from Chottayakaram
temple to Lao Tak Lak Floating Market to meet with the local people.
The Prime Minister also visited the Nongpho Ratchaburi
Dairy Cooperative under Royal Patronage to meet with dairy farmers and check
out One Tambon One Product (OTOP) goods.
The Prime Minister then proceeded to Kanchanaburi
province to observe a project to regulate the rafts along the Kwai River and
to open a new community housing project. Before leaving Kanchanaburi
tonight, Gen. Prayut is visiting a paper mill, that’s being developed into a
cultural conservation and historical area for tourism. He then joined local
residents in launching a floating basket into the water at Kanchanaburi Pier
to celebrate the annual Loy Krathong festival.
TAT launches "Travel Thailand with 100 Baht’’ and "Shocking Prices on Weekdays"
Thailand with 100 baht campaign.
BANGKOK (NNT) - Campaigns to stimulate the domestic economy and
tourism were launched today - Monday (Nov 11). They follow the government’s
Chim, Shop, Chai (Taste, Shop, Use) campaign which has been very well
received by the general public. The campaign has put tens of billions of
baht into the economy.
Meanwhile. the government has launched the second phase
of the Chim, Shop, Chai campaign to further stimulate the Thai economy in
the final months of the year, while the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
has introduced the "Time to Tour Thailand" project, which has two campaigns
to boost tourism spending. They are "Travel Thailand with 100 Baht’’ and
"Shocking Prices on Weekdays"
The "Travel Thailand with 100 Baht’’ campaign covers
five product categories: accommodation, airlines, spa services,
entertainment venues and tour packages. The campaign offers 40,000 products
and services at the price of 100 baht each. People can register with the
campaign on November 11 and 12 and December 11 and 12, at
www.tourismthailand.org or www.ร้อยเดียวเที่ยวทั่วไทย.com,
from 6 a.m. to midnight. The quota is capped at 10,000 applicants per day.
Today, the first day of registration, the 10,000-member quota was reached at
The "Shocking Prices on Weekdays"campaign offers
products and services compliant with international standards at prices
discounted by up to 80%. The campaign covers nine product categories. They
are accommodation, airline travel, shopping malls, spa services, hospitals,
restaurants, jewelry stores, amusement parks and tourism services. People
can register with the campaign at www.tourismthailand.org or www.ร้อยเดียวเที่ยวทั่วไทย.com
until December 31 this year. After registration, applicants are required to
select one of the nine categories and they will receive a coupon. Their
privileges will be revoked, if they fail to use the coupon within five days
The "Time to Tour Thailand" project is intended to
encourage people with spending power to spend money on travel experiences,
such as accommodation and spa services, by the end of the year. The project
is expected to inject 400 million baht into the economy and raise tourism
revenue to 3.1 trillion baht this year.
Dusit Poll: Thais view Asean Summit as beneficial to Thailand
A majority of Thais give thumbs up to the ASEAN
summit held in Thailand recently
BANGKOK (NNT) - A majority of Thai people think Thailand has
benefited from the 35th Asean Summit, according to a survey by Suan Dusit
The poll was conducted between November 6-9, 2019, on
1,159 people throughout the country to collate their opinions on the Summit.
Asked about their overall level of interest in the
Summit, 41.24 percent of the respondents said they were fairly interested
while 21.23 percent were very interested. On the other hand, 24.16 percent
were not particularly interested, saying that Thailand had hosted several
Summits before, while 13.37 percent said they paid no attention to it at
Asked how impressed they were by the Summit, 46.98
percent said Thailand’s hosting of it was successful, since it was free of
any untoward incidents. The rest of them said several important political
and economic agreements were signed and that the attendance by delegates
from many countries had helped promote mutual good relations in the Asean
However, 49.12 percent of the respondents said they
worried that the agreements made would not actually be implemented. The rest
of them raised concerns that Thailand might be left at a disadvantage in
some of the agreements and said they had worried there would be rallies or
protests during the Summit.
Asked whether Thailand had benefited from the Summit,
44.35 percent said "yes", such as from the promotion of its image, while
some of them said it had tightened relations with other countries as the
Summit served as a forum promoting competitiveness. On the other hand, 19.41
percent said Thailand derived little benefit from the Summit, saying that
past Summits it had hosted were slow to produce results, while 10.44 percent
said Thailand did not benefit from it at all.
Asked about concrete achievements made during the
Summit, 60.67 percent said several agreements on cooperation were signed to
strive for economic improvements. The rest of them said that foreign news
media covering the Summit had helped disseminate the Thai identity and that
the Summit allowed leaders of various countries to outline their vision.
Many provinces hold cultural events to preserve Loy Krathong tradition
lamp lighting ceremony in Chiang Mai.
THAILAND (NNT) - Many provinces
are now finalizing their Loy Krathong events. In Chiang Mai, one activity
“Tam Phang Patitn Song Fa Hagsa Muang" has again been arranged to preserve
The "Tam Phang Patit Song Fa Fah Haksa Muang" activity
is held at the city’s Three Kings Monument in order to worship the Lord
Buddha and mark the arrival of the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai. The event
also features a Phang Patit dance performance by over 900 dancers. More than
50,000 lanterns are lit at night during the festival. People in Chiang Mai
can participate in the activity every evening until November 12, 2019.
In Chanthaburi, Governor Withuraj Srinam led people
this weekend to attend a volunteer activity to cleanup the Chanthaburi river
from Chanthanaram Temple Pier to the Shrine of Sa Bap God and Tri Rat
Bridge. Meanwhile, the volunteers also collected waste, eliminated weeds and
improve the landscape along a canal to accommodate the public and tourists
during the Loy Krathong Festival at Chanthanaram Temple.
In Khon Kaen, people in the Nong Yai community, Khon
Kaen Municipality, have created Krathong baskets from natural materials
available in the community for sale at the Loy Krathong Festival 2019 at
Nong Yai Pond on the night of November 11, 2019, priced from 10 - 50 baht.
They have been selling Krathong baskets for many years and earn more than
50,000 baht per year from the sale of their self-made Krathong baskets. The
proceeds are donated to Siriwanna Wanaram Temple.
Ministry of Commerce to suppress illegal copyright agents
Deputy Commerce Minister Weerasak
Wangsuphakijkosol, speaks to the 15-year-old girl student who was falsely
accused of copyright piracy.
Nakhon Ratchasima (NNT) - Deputy Commerce Minister Weerasak
Wangsuphakijkosol, has visited Nakhon Ratchasima province and met with the
15-year-old girl student who had made a Krathong vessel in the style of
Rilakkuma bear and was falsely accused of copyright piracy. He pledged to
suppress the activities of illegal copyright agents and extortionists.
The deputy commerce minister said he had been informed
of the event in which the girl had been falsely charged with the piracy of
the copyrighted cartoon character and visited the innocent girl who had been
intimidated by an alleged extortionist; he offered her moral support. Mr
Wirasak who is in charge of the Department of Intellectual Property said the
event will become a case study so that legal loopholes are plugged, to keep
illegal copyright agents from extorting money from innocent people.
The Department of Intellectual Property has been
instructed to take prompt action to deal with such ’copyright agents’ and
issue a clarification of copyrighted cartoon characters to prevent unlawful
arrests. The deputy commerce minister said no children or youths should be
faced with such legal action, when they are desperate to help their family
make a little extra income. He said adults should encourage children to make
Krathong vessels with original cartoon characters or products.
DPM Jurin holds talks with rice traders from United States
DPM Jurin holds talks with US rice traders.
UNITED STATES (NNT) - Deputy
Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has held talks with
major Thai rice traders from the United States on the rice quality standards
and plans to increase the volume of the premium export rice.
The commerce minister and executive officials of the
Ministry of Commerce discussed market obstacles to the planned increase in
the rice export volume. Mr Jurin said some 500,000 tons of Thai rice is
exported to the United States per a year. Notably, the volume of Home Mali
rice exported to the U.S. market has increased 4.92% over the last five
Trade fairs have been held by rice importers and
leading U.S. supermarkets to promote Hom Mali rice from Thailand. The Thai
rice has been publicized by culinary institutes and Thai restaurants and has
had access to consumer groups in the United States. The publicity for the
Thai rice has been carried out on social media.
’’The Thai government has addressed all levels of
traders, particularly those who have imported rice and food from Thailand
for a long time. The Ministry of Commerce remains prepared to work closely
with every rice trader and hopes to welcome them. We will focus on the
marketing and proactive publicity to promote the consumption of premium
quality rice from Thailand,’’ Mr Jurin said.
Transport Minister inspects highway project in Buri Ram
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob speaks to
the residents of Buriram.
Buri Ram (NNT) - Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, has visited
Buri Ram province and is following up on the Highway 226 project to improve
road surfaces and install a lighting system in preparation for the Buri Ram
The Highway Department’s Office 10 reported progress in
the project to the Transport Minister, specifically measures to solve
traffic congestion due to the construction of the Bang Pa-in - Saraburi -
Nakhon Ratchasima special highway in the area of Khlong Phai prison. All
repaired roads will be fully open to normal traffic by the end of this
The Rural Roads Department also outlined progress in
the trial use of rubber-coated barriers, expected to be finished by the
middle of next month. Then, rubber-coated barriers will be put into
trial-use in a foreign country, for further testing.
The Transport Minister also inspected the Highway 226
project at the Rakar intersection in Krasang district of Buri Ram which is
designed to solve traffic congestion, provide safety for motorists, reduce
the number of road accidents, save on traveling costs and accommodate the
economic, logistical and tourism development of the northeastern region.
The Transport Minister also studied progress in the
project to improve road surfaces and install a lighting system within a 19
million baht budget. It is designed to illuminate the Buri Ram Marathon 2020
scheduled on February 8 and February 9.
151 flights postponed or cancelled for sky lantern festival in Chiang Mai
Thousands of sky lanterns
during the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai.
CHIANG MAI (NNT) - The annual Loy Krathong
festival will take place on November 11th, while the Yi Peng Festival in
Chiang Mai province will be celebrated between November 10 and 12. As many
revellers launch floating lanterns into the night sky during this festive
period, Chiang Mai International Airport has issued an announcement on
flight cancellations and schedule changes for safety reasons.
The Deputy Director of Chiang Mai
International Airport, Flg. Off. Thananrat Prasertsri, said the airport has
asked government agencies, private firms and local administrative
organizations for cooperation by following Section 33 of the Thailand Air
Navigation Act and the safety guidelines regarding the launch of floating
lanterns during the Loy Krathong festival. People are not allowed to play
with fireworks and launch floating lanterns or similar objects near the
airport because they may interfere with the aircraft navigation.
Flg. Off. Thananrat said a total of
151 flights have been rescheduled or cancelled. Sixty-six domestic flights
and 30 international flights have been cancelled, and 41 domestic and 14
international flights have been rescheduled. Passengers will not be unduly
inconvenienced as flight operators have notified them in advance about the
According to a survey, conducted by
the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s (UTCC) Center for Economic
and Business Forecasting, consumer spending will be less active during the
Loy Krathong festival for the second consecutive year. Spending is expected
to decrease from 9.69 billion baht to 9.57 billion baht, down by 1.3%, due
to cautious sentiments over the global economy.
The survey also showed that 62.5% of
the respondents still plan to float their krathong baskets this year to
preserve the traditional way of life.
Cultural performances at exhibition on royal barge procession
BANGKOK (NNT) - An exhibition on the royal barge
procession in Sanam Luang, Bangkok, is providing visitors with a memorable
experience. Among the highlights are royal barge replicas presented by the
Royal Thai Navy, cultural performances and the chanting of boat songs.
Elegant tribal dances performed by
the Tai, Pulao and Taiyor tribes from Kalasin province captured the
attention of thousands of visitors at the exhibition in Sanam Luang. The
graceful performance symbolizes the unity of the Thai people regardless of
The event also features the chanting
of boat songs and an exhibit featuring replicas of the four royal barges:
the Suphannahong Royal Barge, the Narai Song Suban His Majesty King Rama IX
Royal Barge, the Anantanakharaj Royal Barge and the Anekchartphuchong Royal
Barge. Documentaries about His Majesty the King’s royal duties, the
country’s important ceremonies and the Thai way of life are enhanced with
light and sound effects.
Tonight, one of the highlights will
be a khon masked dance inspired by an excerpt of the Hindu epic, Ramayana.
The show will involve more than 100 performers from the Office of Performing
Arts under the Department of Fine Arts.
The exhibition is open to the public
until November 11, 2019, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., at Sanam Luang,
Bangkok. Cultural performances and a demonstration of the royal barge
procession will start at 6:30 p.m. Today’s highlights include a show to
honor His Majesty the King and a play inspired by Inao from the Panji
Romance of Java, Indonesia. Admission to the event is free.
Bank of Thailand lowers policy rate to 1.25% in bid to boost economy
BANGKOK (NNT) - Due to the lower-than-expected
performance of the economy, slowdowns in the export sector affected by trade
wars, which pose consequences for domestic employment and consumption, the
Monetary Policy Committee have agreed to reduce the policy rate by 0.25
percent to 1.25 percent to help boost the economy.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)
has agreed by 5 to 2 votes to lower the country’s policy rate by 0.25
percent, to the lowest rate in recent history. The decision was made due to
lower than expected economic growth and a struggling export sector, which
affect domestic employment and demand. These factors have prompted the MPC
to review and amend economic projections at their December meeting.
The committee says its decision to
reduce the policy rate, effective immediately, is a more relaxed monetary
policy which will help promote economic expansion and push the inflation
rate to reach the target. The committee will be following up on the outcomes
of the government’s economic stimulation measures and expenditures,
investments in key infrastructure projects and their continued effects on
Thailand’s export sector is also
suffering from an appreciating Thai Baht currency, which is the strongest
compared to other currencies in the region. The Bank of Thailand has today
announced amendments in capital transfer regulations to allow more outgoing
cash flow, relieving pressure on the currency.
The new regulations will be
effective on 8 November 2019. They will allow exporters generating less than
200,000 US dollar per single export permit to deposit their money abroad for
an unlimited period, allow individual investors to invest in foreign assets
by themselves at up to 200,000 US dollar per year, allow more outgoing
international money transfers, except for a few restricted categories, allow
transfers for foreign real estate purchases at up to 50 million US dollar
per year, waive documentation requirements for international transfers up to
200,000 US dollars per transaction, and allow Thai clients investing in gold
with authorized brokers to make purchases using foreign currencies.
Bangkok, Sukhothai latest additions to UNESCO’s Creative City Network
BANGKOK (NNT) - The UNESCO has selected Bangkok
and Sukhothai as two new Creative Cities, while the PM has asked the
Ministry of Interior to address complaints by the general public affected by
Government Spokesperson Narumon
Pinyosinwat said, after the Cabinet meeting, that the Prime Minister and
Minister of Defence Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has informed the Cabinet in about
the selection of Bangkok and Sukhothai by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as two of 66 new additions to
the Creative City Network, with Bangkok approved as a Design City, and
Sukhothai as a Crafts and Folk Arts City.
The Prime Minister ordered the
Ministry of Interior, responsible for the regulation of hawkers, to address
complaints made by the general public affected by the regulations. The
ministry is now tasked with regulating the street sales while providing
approved retail spaces to the general public within this month.
At this meeting, the Minister of
Natural Resources and Environment Warawut Silpa-archa proposed that members
of the Cabinet, who will be travelling to Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi on
11-12 November for a mobile Cabinet meeting on Loy Krathong Day, only use a
single Krathong for the entire Cabinet to help reduce waste and pollution.
Marine Department issues guidelines for boat operators ahead of Loy Krathong
the annual Loy Krathong festival just a few days away, relevant agencies
have prepared safety measures and areas for revellers to release their
floating baskets into the water more conveniently. The Marine Department has
issued navigation guidelines for boat operators and will temporarily close
eight piers in Bangkok for safety reasons.
The Deputy Minister of Transport,
Athirat Rattanaset, has instructed the Marine Department to oversee boat and
pier operations ahead of the Loy Krathong festival. On November 11, large
vessels, cargo ships and oil tankers will not be allowed to navigate along a
section of the Chao Phraya River, between the Rama VII and Rama IX Bridges,
from 4 p.m. to midnight. However, the restriction will not be imposed on
public boats, such as express boats and ferries. Boat skippers have been
urged to navigate their vessels slowly.
After inspecting 204 piers in the
city, the department announced that eight piers will be temporarily closed
for safety reasons. They include Daeng, Rajini, Santa Cruz, Chow Sue Kong
Shrine, Si Phraya, Sathorn, Vorachanyawas Temple and Customs Department
The Government Public Relations
Department (PRD) is organizing an annual event to celebrate the Loy Krathong
festival and preserve Thai culture. The event is being held at the PRD head
office from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the official opening to commence at 4
The event features traditional Loy
Krathong activities, shops selling Thai food and products, a PRD concert and
musical performances by award-winning artists, such as Jack Thanapon,
Duangjan Suwannee and Bew Pongpipat. The event also provides a fairground
with a Ferris wheel, a wind house and carousels for children.
Minister Tewan on Buddhism promotion mission in southern border provinces
PATTANI (NNT) - Prime Minister’s Office Minister
Tewan Liptapallop today visited Pattani to hear problems faced by Buddhist
monks in the area, delivering a message of care and support from the Prime
Minister to villagers.
Tewan Liptapallop today visited
Buddhist temples in Pattani, starting at Wat Chang Hai Temple, where he paid
his respects to the portrait of Luang Pu Tuad, a monk revered by villagers
in Khuan Nori subdistrict, and then paid his respects to Abbot Phra Suthara
Pariyattiwithan, to whom he has stressed the government’s objective to
protect Buddhist monks in southern border provinces who serve as the center
of faith among local Buddhist communities.
He then traveled to Wat
Mujalinthavapi Viharn Temple, also known as Wat Tuyong, which is the main
temple of Nong Jik district. He paid his respects to Abbot Phra Suthi
Samanawat, and to the portrait of the former abbot in the monastery.
On this occasion, the PMO Minister
met with villagers, where he conveyed the Prime Minister’s message of moral
support to local communities, and gathered input on obstacles faced by
villagers to report back to the Prime Minister, promising that the
government will continue to provide help and will work to achieve peace in
the deep south.
As the supervisor of the National
Office of Buddhism, the PMO Minister said he has ordered the allocation of
funds to temples in southern border provinces to promote learning of
Buddhist teachings, and other engaging activities in the temples.
Suspected rebels kill 15 at southern Thailand security posts
Police secure the road
leading to a shooting scene in Yala province, Thailand, Wednesday, Nov. 6,
2019. Gunmen fired at security personnel at checkpoints in Thailand's
insurgency-wracked south, killing 15 volunteer officers and wounding five
others, police said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sumeth Panpetch)
By SUMETH PANPETCH Associated Press
YALA, Thailand (AP) — Gunmen
in insurgency-wracked southern Thailand killed 15 village defense volunteers
and wounded five security personnel in what is believed to be the deadliest
attack on government forces since the separatist rebellion began 15 years
Blood-stained clothing found at the
scene suggested that some of the attackers on two checkpoints in Yala
province late Tuesday night also may have been wounded in exchanges of
gunfire, said army spokesman Col. Kiattisak Neewong. He said four of the
slain officers were women and one was a doctor.
In what appeared to be coordinated
actions, nails were scattered on a highway to disable vehicles entering Yala,
a small explosive device was found placed near an electrical pole to knock
out power, and several burning tires were left at a school, said Col.
Thaweesak Thongsongsi, a Yala police superintendent.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha
said Wednesday the attack may show the insurgents are switching their focus
from attacking soldiers and police to the volunteers, who are lightly armed
soft targets. He said plans would have to be drawn up to better protect
Thailand's volunteer forces in the
south are raised from villages and receive weapons training from the army
but no salary. They are usually issued shotguns but often carry personal
handguns, and only guard their own villages rather than seek to confront the
More than 7,000 people have been
killed since the insurgency erupted in 2004 in Thailand's three southernmost
provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, the only ones with Muslim
majorities in the Buddhist-dominant country. Muslim residents have long
charged that they are treated like second-class citizens, and separatist
movements have been periodically active for decades. Heavy-handed crackdowns
have fueled the discontent.
Police, teachers and other
government representatives have often been targeted, along with Muslim
residents seen as siding with the government. Buddhist monks have also been
attacked. The fragmented insurgent groups have focused on vague separatist
demands and have not been linked to jihadi movements.
The Thai government has been holding
on-again, off-again talks with insurgents brokered by neighboring Malaysia,
but factionalism among the network of rebel groups along with a
disinclination by Thailand to offer any substantial concessions have stymied
progress toward peace. Prayuth suggested the attacks could be meant to
influence the peace talks.
Most insurgents appear to be linked
to the Barisan Revolusi Nasional — BRN — the most influential of the
separatist groups, though local members operate with some autonomy.
Generally, they stage hit-and-run attacks, such as drive-by shootings and
ambushes with roadside bombs. They are also known for occasional coordinated
attacks when seeking to make a political point with a show of strength.
Don Pathan, a security analyst
closely watching the conflict, said the militants don't usually attack the
Village Defense Volunteers, but if those units start taking an active role
in chasing the insurgents, the situation could change.
DPM Jurin joins CIIE 2019 opening in China
Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Commerce has put on his salesman’s cap, leading executives from
the Ministry of Commerce to attend the China International Import Expo 2019
in Shanghai, the opening ceremony of which was presided over by the Chinese
President Xi Jinping.
46 Thai businesses have been taken,
by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), to this
exposition, which is taking place on 5 and 6 November. 7 of the group are
lifestyle product suppliers, 15 jewelry and accessory manufacturers, 16 food
and farm product manufacturers, 1 business service provider, 5 medical and
health product manufacturers and 1 tourism company. It is expected these
businesses will win a total of 2 billion baht in sales, after the 1.921
billion last year won by 63 participating Thai companies.
Minister of Commerce Jurin
Laksanawisit said he will take this opportunity to visit a Hema store, an
internet powered Chinese "new retail" supermarket chain and Alibaba’s step
into main street retailing. Hema offers fully digital offline and online
retailing, with some 20,000 products from about 2,000 brands, which can be
traced and tracked using a comprehensive search system.
He said he will be looking for
market opportunities for more Thai products to be sold by Hema stores in the
future, and will be holding talks with high-level executives from Alibaba to
discuss cooperation to promote Thai SMEs, Thai export farm products, such as
rubber, tapioca, oil palm, rice, fruit and other key products, through
Alibaba’s platforms, holding marketing campaigns promoting Thai products and
tourism among Chinese consumers and enhancing technological and knowledge
transfer programs to help facilitate Thai businesses and generate more
income for Thai farmers.
DPM convinces investors strong Thai baht provides investment opportunities
Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak delivering his Thailand 2020 speech.
BANGKOK (NNT) - Deputy Prime Minister Somkid
Jatusripitak has urged investors to make their investments during the
present appreciation of Thai currency, boosting confidence among
international investors looking to invest in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid
Jatusripitak, has delivered his Thailand 2020 speech, in which he said the
trade war between China and the U.S. is still generating uncertainties, plus
increased risks in the global economy, and should prompt Thailand to make
more effort to attract foreign investments, especially in the Eastern
Economic Corridor (EEC) where the government has pursued several major
projects including the Don Muang - Suvarnabhumi - U Tapao Airports Connector
high speed railway; the Laem Chabang Port Phase 3 development, and Map Ta
Phut Industrial Estate Phase 3 development, to promote investment.
He said the country must focus on
technological advancement and security, through the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership (RECP) and in the Indo-Pacific region which covers some
The DPM admitted the economic
performance in Q1-2 this year has receded from the previous year, with GDP
dropping from 4.8 to 2.8 percent, which is partly a result of the delay in
forming an elected government, as well as the trade war which affects
Thailand’s export sector. He said the Q3-4 performance and next year, should
see the Thai economy perform better than the current growth estimate of 2.9
percent thanks to the government’s economic stimulating measures, thus Thai
investors should make their investments during the present period of a
strong Thai Baht. He also assured the forum that the 2020 economy will
recover better than current estimates.
The DPM also mentioned that the
government gives a high priority to the introduction of a 5G mobile network,
aiming to be the first country to adopt the new cellular technology in
ASEAN, with the auction date set for February 2020 at the earliest, or March
2020 at the latest.
Revenue Department promotes e-Tax platform
The Revenue Department has opened a
symposium promoting the electronic tax filing system supporting digital
transactions, recently introduced to help drive Thailand towards a
The Revenue Department has joined
forces with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency, the Ministry of
a Digital Economy and Society, and ARIP, to hold the Thailand e-Tax
Symposium 2019 promoting the e-Tax filing system.
At the symposium, the Revenue
Department’s technology and communications consultant Kanittha Sahamethapat,
gave a special lecture on integration of the e-Tax system for business,
saying that the department is a government agency that aims to help private
firms efficiently adapt their operations to the digital economy, helping
increase their potential and competitiveness.
She said the e-Tax platform has been
developed to facilitate modern businesses, and promote seamless business
cooperation between the government and private sector.
The symposium also featured other
lectures and seminars regarding e-Tax invoicing to promote broader adoption
of the system, as well as speeches on e-Tax standards promoting electronic
capability, e-Tax as a tool for digital advantage by companies, case studies
on e-Tax benefits, and e-Tax invoicing development in the age of digital
trade and finance. The Revenue Department also set up booths to provide
guidance and advice on e-Tax adoption by companies, which received good
feedback from participants.
PM Prayut warns people against copyright protection scams
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister and Defense
Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, has warned people not to infringe
copyright protection regulations, after a 15-year-old girl was recently
fined 5,000 baht for making floating baskets, ordered by undercover
copyright police, featuring copyrighted cartoon characters.
Speaking of the 15-year-old girl’s
case, the Prime Minister said investigators will have to see whether it was
actually a sting operation or a copyright scam. A sting operation is
conducted to gather evidence or identify witnesses. However, law enforcers
must not entrap people into violating the law.
The Prime Minister said the
Department of Intellectual Property has clarified that the girl had been
extorted. He instructed the Department of Intellectual Property, the Royal
Thai Police and relevant agencies to carry out their work more
transparently. Some victims may not take the proper precautions. Therefore,
people should understand the law more thoroughly. At present, there are many
types of frauds and scams online, such as Ponzi schemes. He warned the
general public to be cautious, and there are laws in the country to help
prevent such illegal practices.
Gen. Prayut also called on website
and social media developers to check the news and information to prevent the
dissemination of fake news, as they have caused problems and affected the
The Deputy Director-General of the
Department of Intellectual Property, Nusara Kanjanakul, said her agency is
now collecting evidence relating to the 15-year-old girl’s case and will
summon everyone involved for questioning. If the copyright holder ordered
the girl to make the cartoon-character floating baskets, the girl is not
guilty since it was not her intention to violate the copyright law. The girl
is entitled to take legal action if extortion was involved. The official
warned that copyright holders or their representatives should not use legal
loopholes to take advantage of others.
China-led Asian trade bloc pushes ahead as India drops out
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Chinese
Premier Li Keqiang pose for a group photo at The Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit
in Nonthaburi, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thailand (AP) — A 16-nation trade initiative backed by China is pushing
ahead as India, facing fierce domestic opposition to its market-opening
requirements, has dropped out.
Leaders of countries involved in the
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership said Monday that they had
resolved differences, but India said it was out. Seven years after talks
began, the signing of a final deal was pushed back to next year.
India has balked at exposing its
farmers and factories to more foreign competition, especially from China. It
decided not to join the initiative because of an "inadequate protection
against import surge," among a list of reasons the foreign ministry
circulated after leaders met.
"India had significant issues of
core interest that remain unresolved," Ministry of External Affairs East
Secretary Vijay Thakur Singh said at a news conference late Monday.
She said the agreement was not "fair
and balanced," and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi worried that it would
pinch India's most vulnerable people.
The other RCEP members include the
10 nations belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China,
Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
It does not include the United
States, despite America's $1.9 trillion in trade with the region.
For years, world manufacturers have
been boosting investment in and trade with Southeast Asia, a fast-growing
and increasingly affluent market of 650 million people.
That trend has accelerated amid
feuding between the U.S. and China over trade and technology, which has
ramped up uncertainty as the two largest economies imposed billions of
dollars' worth of punitive tariffs on each other's exports.
RCEP originally would have included
about 3.6 billion people and encompassed about a third of world trade and
"RCEP will significantly boost the
region's future growth prospects and contribute positively to the global
economy," said a statement issued after leaders met.
Many countries in Asia have forged
free trade agreements in and outside the region, including a rival Pacific
Rim trade initiative originally championed by the U.S., the Trans-Pacific
Partnership. Eleven countries remain in that pact after President Donald
Trump pulled out shortly after taking office. It does not include China.
India has lagged many countries in
the region in opening its markets, and groups associated with the ruling
nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have staged scores of protests against
participating in RCEP.
Among other concerns, Indian dairy
farmers are worried about competition from New Zealand and Australian milk
and cheese producers. Automakers fear imports from across the region. But
overall the biggest fear is over a flood of manufactured goods from China.
US woos Asia with plan to rival China's 'Belt and Road'
U.S. Commerce Secretary
Wilbur Ross, left, shakes hands with China's Premier Li Keqiang, right, as
U.S. National Security advisor Robert O'Brien watches during a bilateral
meeting in Bangkok, Thailand Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, on the sidelines of the
35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. (Romeo Gacad/Pool
Photo via AP)
By ELAINE KURTENBACH
BANGKOK (AP) — Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday the U.S. will invest and trade more in
Asia as it rolls out an American plan to support "sustainable" projects in
Asia as a counterpoint to China's multibillion-dollar "Belt and Road"
Ross is leading a high-powered trade
mission in Asia and along with national security adviser Robert O'Brien
attended meetings at a regional summit that wrapped up Monday on the
outskirts of Thailand's capital.
Like O'Brien, he sought to dispel
suspicions that President Donald Trump's administration is disengaging with
the region, a sentiment that deepened when Trump sent his adviser to the
annual summit, skipping it for a second straight year in order to campaign.
"We have no intention of vacating
our military or geopolitical position," Ross told reporters in a conference
He said many people had
misinterpreted Trump's 2017 U.S. decision to pull out of a regional trade
deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as a sign of waning interest.
"We are here permanently, and we
will be continuing to invest more here, and we will be continuing to have
more bilateral trade, and I'm spending much more time in the region," Ross
To illustrate that commitment, U.S.
officials launched the Trump administration's "Blue Dot Network" on Monday
at a high-powered business conference attended by 1,000 people, including
more than 200 American business executives.
The plan's name is a reference to
the late scientist Carl Sagan's book "Pale Blue Dot" and the photo of Earth
taken by Voyager 1 from more than 4 billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers)
Speaking on the same day the U.S.
formally withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, Ross said the Blue Dot
Network was in its early stages but that it will include countries committed
to "sustainable infrastructure development." Earlier, O'Brien told reporters
it was akin to a "Michelin Guide" for rating investment projects in
infrastructure — the roads, ports and energy systems that keep economies and
It's unclear exactly what sort of
investment commitments would come of the initiative, described by the U.S.
government as an alliance of governments including Australia and Japan,
companies and civil society "under shared standards" that would provide a
"globally recognized seal of approval."
At the business forum in Bangkok,
Japan and the U.S. signed a statement pledging to coordinate on $10 billion
in Japanese investment in liquefied natural gas projects. Other plans
include an agreement to work with the Asian Development Bank in arranging up
to $7 billion in financing in other Asian energy projects.
O'Brien said the initiative would
counter the trend toward what he said were projects that were not "high
quality" that had led countries into debt traps — alluding to complaints by
the U.S. that the vast network of Chinese-backed projects under the "Belt
and Road" are undermining the sovereignty and financial stability of the
But it's part of the Trump
administration's foreign policy vision focused on what it calls a "Free and
Open Indo-Pacific," laid out when the president traveled to a summit of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila, Philippines, two years ago
that he ended up leaving early.
According to U.S. government
figures, trade with the region topped $1.9 trillion in 2018 and helped
support more than 3 million U.S. jobs.
The business delegation led by Ross
includes AES Corporation, Baxter International, Bechtel, Bell Textron,
Boeing, Capstone Turbine Company, Cheniere Energy, Citi, Honeywell
International, LNG Limited/Magnolia LNG, Lockheed Martin, Qualcomm,
Securiport, Sierra Nevada, Tellurian, Tesla and Varian Medical Systems. It
was due to travel on to Indonesia and Vietnam after Thailand.
As Ross was talking up U.S. trade
and investment in the region, saying of Australia, "We'd be delighted to
sell more military aircraft if that suits your department of defense," China
opened a lavish import expo Tuesday in Shanghai showcasing its own eagerness
to do business.
President Xi Jinping vowed to open
Chinese markets further, clinking wine glasses with French President
Emmanuel Macron, who urged that Beijing and Washington end the trade war
that is clouding an already murky global economic outlook.
Xi said Beijing was willing to speed
up talks on various free trade deals and investment agreements and "happy to
conclude high-standard free trade agreements with more countries." He also
promised to gradually improve conditions for foreign investment.
The summit meetings in Bangkok made
halting progress on a sweeping free trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive
Economic Partnership, that is seen by many as a rival to the Pacific Rim
accord rejected by Trump.
Fifteen of the 16 countries involved
said they were prepared to push ahead with that China-backed plan, though
India, one of the biggest, was stepping aside and not yet ready to commit to
opening its markets that fully or quickly.
PRD, Xinhua sign MOU on media cooperation
BANGKOK (NNT) - The
Government Public Relations Department (PRD) has signed a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) with Xinhua News Agency to cooperate in the fields of
media and information.
The PRD Director-General, Lt. Gen.
Sansern Kaewkamnerd, and the Chinese Ambassador to Thailand, Lyu Jian,
signed the MOU on media cooperation on November 5. The memorandum is one of
the three MOUs signed by officials from the two countries, intended to
strengthen their strategic partnership. The signing ceremony was witnessed
by Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, and the
Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang.
The MOU on media cooperation focuses
on the exchange of information, news content, images and footage that are
beneficial to Thailand and China. The memorandum is also for support and
collaboration between the PRD and Xinhua. This is an important opportunity
for the PRD to present its news and information to a wider audience, while
Thai people will also be more informed on foreign issues.
Xinhua News Agency is the official
state-run press agency of China. It is the biggest and most influential
media organization in China and one of the world’s top four news agencies.
Its head office is in Beijing and operates more than 200 bureaux in over 180
countries. Xinhua has signed news exchange agreements with some 80 agencies.
This year, it has launched a Thai-language news website, www.xinhuathai.com.
The website produces more than 2,000 Chinese and foreign news items with
images and footage on a monthly basis.
Thailand passes ceremonial gavel to Vietnam at ASEAN Summit
BANGKOK (NNT) - The 35th ASEAN Summit has
successfully concluded on Nov 4, with the ASEAN member states and their
dialogue partners agreeing to enhance cooperation in different areas. During
the Handover Ceremony of the ASEAN Chairmanship, the Prime Minister and
Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, passed the ceremonial gavel to his
Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
As the ASEAN Chairmanship this year,
Gen. Prayut expressed his gratitude to all delegates at the summit for their
support and cooperation, which resulted in many satisfactory outcomes. The
people of ASEAN have a better quality of life amid the challenges facing the
region. ASEAN has promoted trust and cooperation to facilitate trade and to
support the 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In addition, the bloc has set up a network to combat illegal, unreported and
unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The Prime Minister voiced his
confidence that Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chairmanship next year, will continue
with efforts to move forward and ensure regional stability by incorporating
continuity, complementarity and creativity in all areas.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister
praised Thailand for successfully hosting the 35th ASEAN Summit. He said
Vietnam will continue to support Thailand’s initiatives to promote
"Partnership for Sustainability" and enhance cultural ties while preserving
cultural identity of each member state. Vietnam has chosen "Cohesive and
Responsive" as next year’s theme for ASEAN. The theme will focus on bringing
into play the bloc’s internal strengths through solidarity and connectivity.
Thailand discusses investment promotion with U.S., Russia
Chan-o-cha walks hand in hand with U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.
BANGKOK (NNT) - In addition to regional meetings, Thailand’s Prime
Minister held talks with delegates from the United States and Russia on
investment promotion, especially in S-Curve industries, according to the
Thailand 4.0 model, as well as the reconsideration of the suspension of U.S.
GSP benefits for Thailand.
Prior to the discussion, Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha has thanked the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, for
leading U.S. investors to visit Thailand, stressing the mutual benefits both
countries will receive from the expansion of partnerships, trade and
investment cooperation. As a long-standing investor, who has contributed to
Thailand’s economic development, the Thai government is willing to
facilitate investments from U.S. companies, particularly in S-Curve
industries such as aircraft and space, digital, biotechnology and medicine.
Chan-o-cha greets Dmitry Medvedev the Prime Minister of Russia.
In a discussion with Mr. Ross, the Prime Minister said
Thailand has policies in place to promote and facilitate private investments
by local and international investors, and that the government has improved
regulations and infrastructure development. He invited U.S. private firms to
invest in infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia.
On the cancellation of the Generalized System of
Preferences (GSP) privileges, previously granted to some export products
from Thailand, the Prime Minister said the government is concerned regarding
the consequences for the private sector and the general public, but the
government understands the U.S. conditions. He asked the U.S., as a country
with close relations, to reconsider the decision. The Secretary of Commerce
said the U.S. is open to further discussion prior to the effective date in 6
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also held talks with
the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, during which he welcomed the
improvements in Thailand-Russia relations, especially in economic affairs.
The Thai PM invited Russian companies to invest in Thailand’s Eastern
Economic Corridor project in their specialized industries, such as national
defense, digital technologies, the smart city system and medical equipment
The Thai PM told Russian PM that Thailand is interested
to export more food and farm products to Russia, and thanked Russia for
their continued support by importing farm products from Thailand. He said
the Thai authorities are willing to cooperate on the inspection of seafood
factories in the hope of further expanding the trade, and is anticipates
enhancing energy relations with Russia through the establishment of a joint
energy committee. He also welcomed development of Thailand-Russia
cooperation on security.
The Prime Minister of Russia congratulated Thailand on
being the successful host of the ASEAN Summit and related meetings, thanking
the Thai government for prioritizing Thailand-Russia relations. He said the
Russian government is willing to enhance cooperation and to exchange
experience and expertise with Thailand in areas such as telecommunications
infrastructure, energy and agriculture. Both countries have agreed to
enhance their relations at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
The Thai Prime Minister thanked the Skolkovo Foundation
for granting scholarships for HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the
Princess Debaratanarajasuda, to select Thai students to pursue their
Master’s Degree education, helping improve the development of academic and
scientific human resources in Thailand.
US, China spar at Southeast Asian regional summit
Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng speaks to reporters during ASEAN summit in
Nonthaburi, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai )
By JIM GOMEZ and GRANT PECK
NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) — The rivalry between
the United States and China over influence in the Asia-Pacific region was on
show Monday as the two superpowers traded barbs over freedom of navigation
in the region's seas.
The war of words took place at the annual summit of
leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, hosted this year by
Thailand. The meeting allows Southeast Asian leaders to deal as a bloc with
the world's major powers, leveraging their influence in making security and
At the same time, the meeting serves as a showcase for
the rivalry between the U.S. and China, which both seek to strengthen their
clout in the geopolitically important region.
On Friday the two countries repeated familiar charges —
Beijing accusing Washington of interfering in Asian affairs, and Washington
accusing Beijing of violating the law of the sea and encroaching on the
natural resources of other countries.
Washington, however, found itself handicapped as
President Donald Trump did not attend the meeting, sending in his place
neither Vice President Mike Pence or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but his
recently appointed national security adviser, Robert O'Brien.
Other major powers sent their heads of government.
Those attending as guests of ASEAN included Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Washington's diplomatic move was underlined when seven
of the Southeast Asian leaders skipped an important meeting with O'Brien,
sending instead their foreign ministers. Their action was technically
appropriate in terms of diplomatic protocol for a meeting with O'Brien, who
Trump anointed his "special envoy" to the meeting in Bangkok.
American officials, fearing a boycott, urged all
Southeast Asian heads of state to attend Monday's meeting. But ASEAN leaders
decided to send only Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as host, the
Vietnamese prime minister as host of next year's summit and the leader of
Laos, who oversees ASEAN-U.S. relations, a Southeast Asian diplomat told The
Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he lacked authorization
to discuss the issue.
During the meeting, O'Brien read a letter from Trump,
who invited ASEAN leaders to a "special summit" in the U.S. early next year.
O'Brien at a news conference denied that he regarded
the meeting as a snub, saying he "only experienced very, very gracious and
generous hospitality and meetings from all the leaders here, ASEAN and other
leaders in the Indo-Pacific." He declared that he "had a great set of
meetings and didn't feel like there was anything at all untoward."
O'Brien spoke with a sharper edge when discussing one
of ASEAN's main concerns, China's aggressive territorial claims over the
South China Sea, a major concern of four Southeast Asian nations with
competing claims — Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Taiwan is
also involved in a long-simmering territorial conflict in the busy waters, a
key waterway for global commerce. Dwarfed by China's military, rival
claimant states have looked at the U.S. as a counterweight to the Asian
O'Brien took a swipe at China, saying Beijing was using
intimidation to try to stop ASEAN nations from exploiting their offshore
resources, blocking access to $2.5 trillion in oil and gas reserves alone.
China has long warned Washington not to interfere in
territorial disputes it regards as a purely Asian issue. It opposes naval
and aerial patrols by the U.S. and its allies in the disputed waters, but
American forces have maintained their presence and continued "freedom of
navigation" sail-bys designed to challenge China's vast territorial claims.
Chinese Premier Li said he was confident that a
regional code of maritime conduct that China is negotiating with ASEAN
states could be concluded in three years.
Responding to a question about O'Brien's comments, he
told reporters: "Regretfully, while the tree desires tranquility, the wind
keeps blowing. Some nonregional countries have done everything to make
trouble and raise tensions. They want to impose their will on our
O'Brien delivered a retort to Li, saying, "We don't
believe that any country should just seal off massive portions of the
Pacific Ocean and claim that their territorial waters like it's a lake, like
it's a lake up in Lake Tahoe, an island in the middle of the U.S."
Noting the U.S. heritage as a maritime trading nation,
he told reporters that "international law allows us to go in international
waters when we choose. And for the reasons that we chose. And so we don't
think that sailing the high seas in any way infringes on any other country."
He stressed that China's actions threatened to deprive
Southeast Asian nations of the natural resources that rightfully belong to
"It's against the rules. It's not fair. It's not right.
And so the United States has never been shy about calling that out," he
said. "Now, that doesn't mean we don't want good relations with China. We
want great relations with China."
The other major issue tackled by ASEAN leaders resulted
in progress after seven years of negotiations for a massive free trade deal
called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. However, the
initiative backed by China only won approval for now from 15 of the 16
nations involved, as India was not yet able to commit itself.
RCEP, which does not include the U.S., aims to level
trade barriers between ASEAN members and six other countries in a bloc
encompassing roughly a third of all global trade.
ASEAN Styles trade fair welcomes delegates at 35th ASEAN Summit venue
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Department
of International Trade Promotion is holding an ASEAN Styles trade fair
during the 35th ASEAN Summit, in effort to uphold the invention and
innovation of Thai goods. About 2,000 representatives of public and private
sectors are expected to visit the trade fair at the Summit venue.
The Ministry of Commerce’s Department of International
Trade Promotion is organizing the ASEAN Styles Trade Fair alongside the
ASEAN Summit at Hall 5 of IMPACT Muang Thong Thani Exhibition and Convention
center from November 2 to November 4. Thailand’s potential in trade,
investment and tourism as well as the country’s current image as chair of
ASEAN are being exhibited at the trade fair. It provides marketing
opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs, especially in lifestyle products and
export-quality OTOP items. The trade fair is being held in the premises of
the venue where the ASEAN Summit, RCEP and ABIS 2019 are being held.
For security reasons regarding world leaders, executive
officials of the public and private sectors of ASEAN and trade partner
countries, as well as those of many world-famous firms, only the 2,000
attendees at the Summit and related summits are allowed to visit the trade
fair. They can also buy goods and engage in trade negotiations at the fair.
Thai, Japanese leaders discuss upgrading ASEAN - Indo-Pacific cooperation
Chan-o-cha greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime
Minister and Minister of Defense Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha held a meeting with
the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as part of the 35th ASEAN Summit and
The Thai Prime Minister welcomed the Japanese Premier
on his first visit in Thailand in 6 years, and commended the realization of
the joint statement from the 22nd ASEAN-Japan summit on connectivity,
expressing ASEAN’s desire to work with Japan on ASEAN Outlook on
Indo-Pacific, especially on smart city development, access to financial
services, human resources development and environmental protection,
including marine debris management.
Prime Minsiter Prayut Chan-o-cha asked Japan to help
promote connectivity, human resource development and environmental
protection, praising Japan’s role as the chairman of the G20 on preparing
outcome documentation, especially the G20 Principles on Quality
Infrastructure Investment which promotes strategic connections and the
integration of initiatives on regional and sub-regional connectivity.
The Japanese Prime Minister praised Thailand’s role as
the chairman of ASEAN, especially on the Thai Prime Minister’s role in
pushing forward the realization of important resolutions on regional
development. He has pledged that Japan will continue cooperating with
Thailand closely to address regional challenges.
Both Prime Ministers agreed on cooperation to promote
SMEs and Startups with the signing of 6 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)
between both countries’ large companies and startups on 2 November 2019,
promoting business cooperation and the development of innovations and modern
technologies in Thailand. This initiative complies with the Thai
government’s innovative startups promotion campaign, under the InnoSpace
Both countries have discussed the progress of the
Memorandum on Japan-Thailand Partnership Program Phase 3, which was signed
on 31 October 2019, to extend existing cooperation to help third countries,
especially in the Mekong sub-region, using experience, expertise and proven
practices from Thailand and Japan.
The two Prime Ministers then discussed key regional
cooperation, including the ASEAN and G20 frameworks, where Thailand and
Japan are respective chairs this year, the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong
Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Mekong-Japan Cooperation, as
well as S-Curve industries and infrastructure development in Thailand’s
Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State
and sport and cultural cooperation between Thailand and Japan.
The Thai Prime Minister has also wished Japan a
successful hosting of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
ASEAN charts path for trade bloc led by China
Premier Li Keqiang, fifth from left, shake hands with ASEAN leaders, from
left, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Myanmar State Counsellor
Aung San Suu Kyi, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Singapore Prime
Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Vietnam
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia
Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indonesia President Joko Widodo, and Laos Prime
Minister Thongloun Sisoulith during ASEAN-China summit in Nonthaburi,
Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives to address a press
conference at The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in
Nonthaburi, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern poses for a selfie with a visitor after
delivering a speech in the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) in
Nonthaburi, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during The Association of Southeast
Asian Nations ASEAN-India summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, Sunday, Nov. 3,
2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
By JIM GOMEZ and GRANT PECK
NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) — Southeast Asian leaders
agreed Sunday to work with China and other neighbors to transcend conflicts
over trade policies and territorial disputes for the sake of stronger
economies and regional stability.
President Donald Trump skipped the summit of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations and instead sent his national
security adviser, Robert O'Brien. Last year, Trump sent Vice President Mike
Pence. Both now are busy campaigning back home, and analysts say their
absence left room for China to further raise its profile and clout in the
ASEAN leaders "welcomed the conclusion of the Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations" and the commitment to sign
the free trade deal next year, the summit's host, Thai Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-ocha, said in a statement on behalf of the 10-nation regional
bloc after the annual meetings.
"This will significantly contribute to an open,
inclusive and rules-based international trading system and expansion of
value chains," the leaders said.
Officials said there were still final issues to be
resolved by the 16 countries involved in the trade deal, which has been
under negotiation for seven years.
RCEP aims to level trade barriers between ASEAN members
and six other countries in a bloc encompassing nearly a third of all global
ASEAN also reported progress toward setting a code of
conduct with China regarding disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told other leaders attending
that Beijing was committed to forging such an agreement.
"Given the complexity in the international and regional
situation, our cooperation is built on a stable structure and moving forward
in a positive fashion," Li said. "This is beneficial to the region and all
"We support stability in the region and by doing so we
have been able to cope with the instability elsewhere in the world," he
On the troublesome issue of the South China Sea,
Vietnamese diplomats wanted a mention in the ASEAN statement of recent
Chinese encroachments into waters where Vietnam, Malaysia and the
Philippines have exclusive rights under international law to exploit energy
Earlier drafts mentioned recent "serious incidents."
That was absent from the final statement, perhaps reflecting Beijing's
clout. China and its allies in ASEAN, led by Cambodia, have opposed any
attempt to use the annual meetings to vilify the Asian economic powerhouse.
Still, in what appeared to be a compromise, the ASEAN
leaders said they "took note of some concerns on the land reclamations and
activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased
tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region."
Li welcomed progress on negotiating a code of conduct
that could avert armed confrontations in one of the world's most disputed
After being accused of delaying the start of talks for
years while building artificial islands with military outposts on contested
reefs, China agreed to begin negotiations and both sides announced that the
first of three expected rounds was concluded in July.
Li called that progress "a very important landmark" for
regional stability. He said China is committed to making headway in the
negotiations with ASEAN members, four of whom — Brunei, Malaysia, the
Philippines and Vietnam — are locked in the territorial disputes.
But the talks are highly contentious and it's unclear
if China is ready to sign a code that many governments, including the U.S.,
hope would be legally binding and potent enough to restrain provocative
actions in a busy waterway crucial to global commerce.
Two Southeast Asian diplomats told The Associated Press
that in a tense meeting in Vietnam recently, Vietnamese diplomats questioned
how the negotiations could progress while flotillas of Chinese fishing boats
backed by China's coast guard and navy were swarming into disputed waters.
Chinese officials replied that ASEAN members should not
allow one state "to hijack the COC process," one of the diplomats said,
referring to the code of conduct talks. The two diplomats spoke to the AP on
condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to discuss the issue
"China's continued harassment of Malaysia, Filipino and
Vietnamese activities over the last year shows that it isn't yet prepared to
compromise in any substantive way. So these talks always seemed to be
heading for trouble," said Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert with the
U.S.-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.
The meetings Sunday touched on other challenges,
including climate change. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the
leaders to wean themselves from reliance on coal-fired power plants given
the region's vulnerability to extreme weather disasters and rising sea
Guterres nudged Myanmar to do more to help resettle
hundreds of thousands of members of its Muslim Rohingya minority who have
fled violence in the country's northwest.
"Some positive steps have been taken, but much more
needs to be done to forge durable solutions and ensure effective
accountability," he said.
Asked by reporters about the recent deaths of 39
Vietnamese migrants who died in a shipping container while being smuggled
into Britain, Guterres urged that more be done to fight human trafficking.
"Migration is inevitable," he said. "If migration is
inevitable, then it's better to organize it."
ASEAN members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia,
Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Together, they comprise a fast-growing regional market of nearly 650 million
The proposed RCEP trade bloc aims to facilitate and set
standards for trade among ASEAN and six other nations: China, Japan, India,
Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. It does not include the United
Thailand supports Vietnam as ASEAN chair in 2020
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha greets
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the 35th ASEAN Summit and
related summits in Bangkok.
BANGKOK (NNT) - Thailand has spoken in support of Vietnam as chair of
ASEAN in 2020, and thanked Vietnam for supporting Thailand as this year’s
ASEAN chair. Meanwhile, bilateral trade between the two countries is
expected to total 20 billion dollars next year.
Prime Minister/Defense Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha
held bilateral talk with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the
sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits in Bangkok. The Thai
prime minister assured the Vietnamese PM of Thailand’s support for Vietnam
as chair of ASEAN in 2020, while the Vietnamese prime minister complemented
Thailand on its role as chair of ASEAN in 2019, and the push for the
creative development of ASEAN; he thanked Thailand for taking care of
Vietnamese migrant workers and for supporting Vietnam as next year’s ASEAN
Bilateral trade between the two countries has already
increased and Thailand has sought to promote cooperation in the sustainable
management of water in the Mekong sub-region under the framework of the
Mekong River Commission and Mekong-Lancang Commission.
Both sides admired their bilateral relationship, while
the Thai prime minister raised concerns over climate change such as
cross-border forest fires and haze problems, for which the cooperation of
ASEAN states is essential if the problem is to be solved. Thailand and
Vietnam anticipate a total of 20 billion dollars in bilateral trade in 2020
with both leaders agreeing to provide accommodation for investors..
The Thai prime minister called on his Vietnamese
counterpart to extend the period of time permitted for Vietnam’s importation
of automotive parts from Thailand, and confirmed Thailand will gladly
provide its experience in solving the IUU issue to help upgrade Vietnam’s
ASEAN leaders’ spouses view exhibition on Thailand’s garbage management changes
BANGKOK (NNT) - Natural
Resources and Environment Minister, Varawut Silpa-archa, today welcomed the
spouses of the ASEAN leaders to an exhibition on the management of garbage
organized by the Ministry, SCG Plc. and PTT Global Chemical Plc. The
exhibition outlines the previous and current management approaches to
garbage collection, awareness of garbage problems and adjusted views on the
issue, as well as the reduction of and end to the use of plastic bags in
The ASEAN leaders’ spouses attended an academic
workshop on the management of garbage with Thailand’s intention to turn
ASEAN into a sustainable manufacturing and consuming region, given
sustainable and creative waste management and the promotion of a biological
economy, circular economy and green economy. It is a masterpiece of
environmental design by Thailand, as chair of ASEAN this year..
The ASEAN leaders’ spouses also viewed the National
Museum Phra Nakhon which features Thailand’s historic artifacts, and Bang
Khun Phrom Palace, which is over 100 years old and is situated on one side
of the Chao Phraya River, where it is admired as one of Thailand’s most
ONCB discusses upgrading solutions to drug problem in Golden Triangle
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Office of the Narcotics
Control Board (ONCB) has discussed upgrading solutions to the drug problem
in the Golden Triangle with China and Myanmar, with a focus on preventing
chemicals and substrates from entering the production sites.
ONCB Secretary General Niyom Termsrisuk said today the
bilateral meeting on drugs between Thailand - China, and Thailand - Myanmar
at the end of last month, reviewed cooperation on drug prevention and
suppression. The three countries agreed that the spread of synthetic drugs
has been more prevalent in the Greater Mekong Subregion and the Asian
Therefore, it has become necessary to upgrade and
enhance the ability to suppress drug trafficking in every quarter, prevent
the substrates and chemicals from entering the Golden Triangle area which is
considered an important source of production, enhance the efficiency of drug
detection and exchange information on the analysis of the characteristics of
One important conclusion from the meeting is that
Thailand, China and Myanmar will upgrade their cooperation on solving drug
use problems in the Golden Triangle area in terms of suppression, prevention
and rehabilitation. The three countries will also focus on preventing the
substrates used in the production of drugs from entering the production
sites. China and Myanmar are two of the six countries that have participated
in the Safe Mekong action plan and the Golden Triangle blockade action plan.
From November 13-15, 2019, the ONCB will host a senior staff meeting and a
ministerial meeting under the seven-party memorandum of understanding to
express the partner countries’ commitment to solving drug problems in the
Greater Mekong Sub-region to effectively reduce the impact of drug problems
in a sustainable manner.
PM gives awards to excellent local administrations
- The Prime Minister has granted awards to 53 local administrative
organizations, in recognition of their excellent management in fiscal year
2019, stressing the government’s preparedness to work together with local
administrations, and their important role in creating understanding among
The Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha presided over an awards ceremony honoring the 53 local
administrative organizations for their transparent management and good
The Prime Minister congratulated all
award winners on their excellent work and high standards, stressing that
local administrations are important bodies in achieving national
development, and asking award-winning organizations to help mentor other
local administrative organizations to improve their strength and
performance, and to encourage the organizations to update themselves on
legal matters and correct budget protocols, as well as implementing more
digital technologies to better reach out to villagers, to enable their fast
development and good governance.
He said the government wishes to
promote its policies, and national strategies, while creating understanding
among members of the general public, of ways to improve their quality of
life and allow them to gain more income. He assured the public of the
government’s intention to provide support and take good care of local
administrations, promising local elections next year when everything is
Three local administrative
organizations won this year’s grand prizes totaling 15 million baht in cash
rewards. Special awards were given to 125 administrative organizations
passing the evaluation as incentives for improvements. The evaluation was
made according to strict criteria based on transparency and concrete
outcomes from good governance, effectiveness, public services, innovations,
and efficient budget management maximizing the public and the nation’s
Baan Tulakorpalus - a model cooperative in Narathiwat to fight against IUU fishing
Today, we’ll take you to Baan Tulakorpalus, a fishing
village chosen as a model of marine resource conservation and a leader in
the elimination of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, with
support from the government. Currently, it is the only village with a
fishing cooperative in Narathiwat province.
Mustopa Useng, president of the Baan
Tulakorpalus fishing group, told us that villagers from Ban Khao Tanyong and
Ban Tulakorpalus got together in 2010 to find ways to protect their marine
resources and aquatic creatures. They resolved to prohibit the use of
illegal fishing equipment and ban fishermen from other villages from fishing
in their areas.
In 2015, the government implemented
measures to combat IUU fishing and support the recovery of marine
ecosystems. Tulakorpalus village was then able to set up a fisheries
cooperative located Kaluwo Nuea subdistrict, Muang Narathiwat district. This
cooperative currently has 58 members.
"In the past, illegal fishing nets
were used. After the government addressed the problem of illegal fishing
nets, the marine environment improved. Fishermen are restricted to fishing
on certain days, and only small boats are allowed. The fishing cooperative
was set up to help the local fishermen have sustainable livelihoods,"
Prapatpong Taksinsamphan, head of
fishing management in the Narathiwat Provincial Fisheries Office, said the
fishery group has cooperated with the government to address IUU fishing and
follow the royal initiatives of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the
Great (Rama IX).
The group has strengthened the
fishing village and brought other benefits to the locals. This is the origin
of the fishing cooperative. Abdulroyah Arwae, vice president of the Baan
Tulakorpalus fishing group, said the villagers have joined forces to set up
this community organization to oversee marine resources, and they have
become stronger. The fishing cooperative will support the local fishermen
and improve their livelihoods.
Chana Amornwat, director of the
cooperative promotion of Narathiwat Provincial Cooperative Office, said this
is the only fishing cooperative in the southernmost province. It was
established in August this year to provide fishing equipment to local
fishermen and manage their product distribution.
"It’s not only fishermen. Farmers
have to get together and help each other. They will have more negotiation
power when they buy or sell their produce. Setting up a cooperative is
better than other methods because it is a legal entity and can carry out
many activities. It is also supported by civil agencies," he added.
The fisheries cooperative of
Tulakorpalus village has many strong points and it is looking for ways to
enhance them further.
Related agencies will have to
support the processing of their products to increase their value, while
encouraging 12 other fishing villages to form their own cooperatives like
the one in Tulakorpalus village. The cooperatives benefit everyone and they
can continue to live together peacefully.
Northeastern provinces save water for dry season
KHON KAEN (NNT) - Parts of the northeastern region
covering 10 provinces have been declared drought affected areas because of
the prolonged lack of rain. The drought disaster in Khon Kaen is considered
the worst in 50 years, requiring special water deliveries from Chulabhorn
reservoir every two months, to ensure water availability.
Officials from Chum Phae local
waterworks office in Chum Phae district, Khon Kaen, have surveyed water
availability in Choen River at a water pumping station, as the water level
has continued to decrease leaving the inlet pipe covered by only 20
centimeters. The area earlier requested Chulabhorn reservoir upstream in
Chaiyaphum to discharge extra water to resolve the shortage of water for tap
water production, but only 500,000 cubic meters out of 2 million cubic
meters in water volume reached the area, with the current availability only
sufficient for tap water production for 40 more days.
Chum Phae Hospital director
Duangporn Aswarachan said today the hospital serves patients from nine
surrounding districts, especially patients requiring hemodialysis, a
procedure that uses a lot of water each time. The hospital is required to
have a backup plan in case of water shortages to minimize the effect on
In Bueng Kan, rice farmers in Ban
San Charoen village and Ban Pan Lam village are now faced with a premature
drought season, causing heading and ripening rice to lack the water needed.
Farmers are required to buy water pumped in from the Mekong river for the
crops, charged at 65 baht per hour. The service could only provide a water
supply to a single farmer yesterday, with the waiting list now full. The
transition into winter with dry air and strong winds also causes the crops
to dry out more easily.
In Nong Khai, water levels in the
Mekong river remain at less than 1.5 meters deep, which is the lowest in 50
years. The low water level has caused sand sediment and islands to show up
in the middle of the river, obstructing boat navigation, especially
Thailand-Laos cargo boats at Hai Sok Pier where the load limit has been
reduced, and captains are required to exercise greater caution while
navigating. The water level, if lowered by just another 30 centimeters, will
halt the cargo boat service, as boats will not be able to reach the pier on
the Laos side, affecting pier workers including some 100 workers in
In Bang Rakam, Phitsanulok, staff
members from Yom-Nan rivers water delivery and maintenance project managed
by the 3rd Irrigation Office, have removed debris obstructing Bang Kaew
water discharge gate, and closed all five gates after the water level in the
Yom river continued to drop. The closure of this discharge gate is aimed at
helping conserve water for consumption during the dry season, expected to be
of concern due to insufficient water in the main dams.
Energy Minister sees "Tha Makham Natural Agricultural Center" as model power provider
KANCHANABURI (NNT) - Kanchanaburi’s Center for
Agricultural Technology and Alternative Energy Development has been using
blended energy to create careers. The Ministry of Energy now sees an
opportunity to further develop it into a model community power plant.
The Agricultural Technology and
Alternative Energy Development Center in Tha Makham subdistrict of
Kanchanaburi is a natural agricultural learning center that uses blended
energy in the production process. Solar energy, biomass energy, fossil fuels
and energy from waste, are all used to power various activities within the
Energy Minister Sonthirat
Sonthijirawong held discussions with Mrs. Thiwaphorn Srivorakun, the
co-founder of the center, who initiated the concept of natural farming. He
sees an opportunity to develop it into a model community power plant, which
enables the community to participate in power production, consumption and
distribution, in order to operate their businesses in the local area in a
Public invited to visit exhibition on royal barge procession in Sanam Luang
BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of
Culture is holding an exhibition on the royal barge procession in Sanam
Luang, Bangkok. Among the highlights are royal barge replicas, cultural
performances from different regions of Thailand and a spectacular
At the exhibition on Tuesday (Oct 29), the Royal Thai
Navy presented replicas of the four royal barges, namely the Suphannahong
Royal Barge, the Narai Song Suban His Majesty King Rama IX Royal Barge, the
Anantanakharaj Royal Barge and the Anekchartphuchong Royal Barge. The
replicas showcase the country’s identity and cultural heritage.
In addition, a group of 100 villagers from Kalasin
province performed a traditional dance titled "Father of the Land" at the
The event also features shows from all four regions of
Thailand. They are presented at 6:30 p.m. every night. On Wednesday, the
shows included tribal dances, a chanting of boat songs and a khon masked
dance inspired by an excerpt of the Hindu epic, Ramayana.
The exhibition is displayed in three zones. The first
zone shows coronations since the Rattanakosin period. The story is told
through the combination of archival pictures and Thai traditional wall
The second zone has a stage for multimedia displays and
performances, revealing the Thai people’s pride in being part of this
ancient ceremony. The performances on stage are combined with a 40-meter
long LED backdrop screen to enhance the beauty of the shows.
The third zone offers information about the royal
barges in the Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin eras. This zone features the
replicas of the four royal barges.
The exhibition is open to the public from October 25 to
November 11, 2019, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., at Sanam Luang, Bangkok.
Admission to the event is free.
Thai entrepreneur pushing insects as the snack of the future
entrepreneur Thatnat Chanthatham shows crickets at Smile cricket farm at
Ratchaburi province, southwest of Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 3, 2019. (AP
sort out crickets for size at Smile cricket farm at Ratchaburi province,
southwest of Bangkok, Thailand Oct. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
picks up a pack of crickets named HiSo snacks at a supermarket in Bangkok,
Thailand. Oct. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
By JERRY HARMER and TASSANEE
VEJPONGSA Associated Press
BANGKOK (AP) — They are sold in bags like salted
peanuts, or tubes like stacked potato chips, but these crunchy morsels on
the shelves of Thai convenience stores and supermarkets stand apart from the
snack food crowd.
The bugs — baked, not fried — could be the next big
thing in tasty treats.
Rural Thais have long eaten bugs as part of their diet.
In big cities, street vendors catering to migrant workers sell cooked
insects that under most circumstances would cause foreign tourists to whip
out a can of bug spray.
The idea to package them like potato chips came to
entrepreneur Thatnat Chanthatham when a story on the news caught his
"I heard on the TV news that the U.N. said insects were
an alternative source of protein for the future . so I thought that Thais
eat a lot of insects already and can get them as street food. Has anyone put
them in a bag?" the 46-year-old told The Associated Press. "If not, how can
we do it? What sort of flavors?"
His supply chain begins at the Smile cricket farm in
Ratchaburi province, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Bangkok. In one
breeding room alone, more than a million of the chirping insects are being
raised on a 45-day cycle from egg to adult to harvest. Some of the products
are baked here, others at the next stop, a factory in Bangkok, where they
are packaged and then trucked to retail outlets.
Small crickets are one of the best sellers in the range
of insect convenience snacks sold under the HiSo brand — that's Thai slang
for "high society."
HiSo snacks unabashedly proclaim what they are: the
bamboo worms look like bamboo worms; the crickets look like crickets. The
line also includes crispy silkworms.
They come in original, barbecue and tom yam flavors,
and can be found in Thailand's ubiquitous 7-Eleven shops and in a major
supermarket chain. Crickets are priced at 25 baht (83 cents) for a bag; at
the high end, a tube of bamboo worms costs 160 baht ($5.29).
HiSo has established itself in the snack market, but
there was plenty of trial-and-error involved, Thatnat said, such as when
they were considering whether to sell large, black crickets.
"Even though I'm a regular when it comes to eating
bugs, I still felt like their eyes were staring at me ... Then, after we ate
them, their legs and wings poked out and got stuck in our teeth and gums,"
he said, laughing.
"I thought, should we go ahead? I talked to the team
and they said please shelve this one, so I did."
Two tons of insects pass through his Bangkok factory
every month. Revenue is steady at around $100,000 per month, but overheads
are high. While he raises his own crickets, he hasn't yet found a way to
produce enough silkworms and bamboo worms to the required standard, so he
has to buy them from independent suppliers.
Still, four years after the metamorphosis of HiSo from
idea to industry, Thatnat is a satisfied man.
"When it comes to bugs, there are people who are scared
of them, people who eat them and people who don't. But to be where we are
today, with people knowing and accepting our HiSo brand, that's what I'd
call a success."
Until recently, demand for edible bugs was mainly in
parts of Asia, Africa and South America. But HiSo's emergence comes amid
growing global interest in insects as a food source.
They don't need a lot of space, don't need a lot of
feed and don't leave a large carbon footprint. And in return, as the U.N.
Food and Agriculture Organization points out, they offer substantial
nutritional benefits for livestock and for humans.
"They have an incredibly high content of protein, but
also minerals and also vitamin B12," said the FAO's Katinka de Balogh. "The
nutritional value of insects has not been recognized in the past and I
think, nowadays, we are finding that there is a huge potential."
Will HiSo's packaging and marketing be a game-changer,
helping make insects the food of the future?
Thatnat said his products are popular with Asian
tourists, especially the Chinese, so his next goal is to export them. But so
far, he's hit a brick wall, and blames a morass of unclear regulations.
"There needs to be an agreement between governments.
All you really get is advice on bugs as a food source," he says. "In the
end, these insects can't really go between countries yet. That's one of the
things stopping us from obtaining our goal."
Even in Thailand, some can't stomach the thought of
crunchy crickets or original flavor bamboo worms.
Many passers-by kept walking when recently offered
samples in the street, or flat out turned down a taste, though two office
workers who tried them said they were fine.
"If I see them, I'll buy them," said Anuwat Suetrong.
Thailand to renegotiate U.S. GSP at ASEAN Summit
BANGKOK (NNT) - Apart from resolutions to be made by ASEAN leaders at
the ASEAN Summit in November, the Thai government will take the opportunity
to hold talks with the U.S. regarding the decision to revoke the Generalized
System of Preferences (GSP) treatment previously given to 573 Thai products.
The Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said today the
revocation of GSP by the U.S. must be looked into to find the true cause, as
Thailand will be making additional representations to persuade Washington to
restore the benefits, as there have been cases of benefits restoration on
seven items in the past. The decision to no longer grant GSP preferences
also applies to some other ASEAN countries, thus the countries involved will
seek to hold talks with the U.S. representatives at the ASEAN Summit.
He said however that Thailand will be looking to newer
markets in the future, and asked the general public not to worry or connect
this issue with others.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak
has held a talk with Charge d’Affaires Michael Heath, the acting U.S.
Ambassador to Thailand, during his courtesy call after taking the acting
ambassador’s position, where the U.S. diplomat has confirmed the matter is
still up for further discussion as both countries have long enjoyed good
relations. He added that both sides will seek an opportunity during the
ASEAN Summit to resolve the issue.
The University of the Thai Chambers of Commerce’s
Director of Center for Economic and Business Forecasting (CEBF), Thanawat
Polvichai said today the discontinuation of GSP won’t cause a significant
drawback on the export figure, as Thai exporters are likely to make the
necessary adjustments and find replacement markets, as many export items
from Thailand have been re-positioned to compete with innovations rather
than pricing, especially among exports to the U.S.
He said the export sector will not be gravely affected
and that the overall economic growth this year should achieve 2.8 percent
growth, provided that the Bank of Thailand can regulate the Thai currency to
keep it within appropriate margins, close to global competitors.
Thailand promoting Si Thep, Phanom Rung as World Heritage sites
BANGKOK(NNT)- The government has resolved to step up efforts to
register several of its historic locations as World Heritage sites.
The third meeting of the national committee on the
World Heritage Convention, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Gen.
Prawit Wongsuwan, acknowledged the results of the 43rd World Heritage
Committee session in Baku, Azerbaijan, which took place between June 30
and July 10 this year. The gathering agreed to place Si Thep and Phanom
Rung historical parks on its preliminary list of World Heritage sites.
Thailand has been asked to provide documentation on the two sites to the
committee to further their consideration, as well as undertake
additional processing for Kaeng Krachan National Park.
The national committee also considered a draft
report on conservation of the Dong Phaya Yen-Khao Yai forest, which is
to be submitted so that it avoids being listed as a World Heritage Site
The Natural Resources and Environment Minister,
Varawut Silapa-acha, explained today that receiving World Cultural
Heritage and World Natural Heritage status not only brings pride to
Thailand but helps to attract tourists from across the globe, benefiting
the nation’s economy.