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Tackle labour, energy issues now: FTI พฤศจิกายน 13, 2014

Filed under: Economics,The Nation — SoClaimon @ 4:25 am
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ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Tackle-labour-energy-issues-now-FTI-30247062.html

THE CURRENT shortage of skilled and unskilled labour, along with rise in energy prices in future years, are key issues that need to be addressed now, before they hamper the development of the industrial sector, the Federation of Thai Industries said yesterday.

Meanwhile, increasing trade and investment with neighbouring countries, alongside outsourcing and the expansion of production bases to CLMV (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) countries, are current trends for Thai operators, which need to be supported in these efforts ahead of the opening of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), said FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree.

He was speaking at the federation’s annual meeting with the press.

The Thai industrial sector accounted for 38.1 per cent of gross domestic product last year, and industrial products for 76 per cent of the Kingdom’s export volume, he said.

The FTI’s goal is for the country to become the industrial hub of Asean, since Thailand has many advantages over other member states in terms of geography and readiness.

However, as the country has lost its labour competitiveness, it is imperative for industries to concentrate on increasing their potential to meet more intensive competition that will come with greater regional integration next year, he stressed.

“Our GDP is one of the highest in the region at US$2.4 trillion [Bt78.75 trillion], therefore it is natural that our basic wages will be higher, and this means that we have lost our competitiveness in terms of cheap labour.

“Many industries are facing a shortage of labour, and some sectors that are labour-intensive, such as garments and shoes, have already began to move their production bases to neighbouring countries – a move that must be promoted and facilitated in order to support the expansion of those sectors,” said Supant.

“While Thailand is still the industrial leader in the region, especially in electronics [home appliances], automobiles and food products, the support of the government in terms of investment in infrastructure and a willingness to listen to the private sector would help with the expansion of the sector in the years to come,” he added.

He said the government’s plan for the introduction of special trade zones within border areas would help ease the labour shortage, but suggested that higher use of technology, increased research and development in innovation, use of e-commerce, along with cluster and systematic supply-chain strategies, were the best means of tackling the problem.

Turning to energy, Supant said that in the next seven to eight years, energy prices would increase because of higher demand. This means the country must look for other energy options, such as biofuel and other renewable energy, before the expected rise in energy prices leads to higher production costs, which would eat into industrial profits and hamper companies’ growth.

Meanwhile, Chen Namchaisiri, the FTI’s vice chairman, said he expected lifestyle and construction products to be two of the industries with the biggest potential to expand in the near future.

Thai fashion products and furniture are in demand in neighbouring markets, while the expected increase in infrastructure investment in CLMV countries will support the sale of construction products within the region, he said.

The federation also recommends that business operators come up with products that will be better suited for an ageing society by looking at Japan as a model, he added.

 

TAT sets out global plans under ‘Discover Thainess 2015′

Filed under: Economics,The Nation — SoClaimon @ 4:24 am
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ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/TAT-sets-out-global-plans-under-Discover-Thainess–30247061.html

THE TOURISM AUTHORITY of Thailand has lined up global strategic plans under its “Discover Thainess 2015″ campaign, which is aimed at boosting the number of international visitors to 28 million next year.

Sugree Sithivanich, TAT deputy governor for marketing communications, said the authority had launched the national tourism campaign to international markets on Monday at the “World Travel Mart”, which is being held in London until today.

The agency also kicked off a three-month mobile advertising campaign in the city, with two tourist buses with wrap-around adverts and six London cabs featuring Thainess and Thai attractions.

One of the agency’s global marketing plans is to boost arrivals from the European market by focusing more on first-time visitors from second-tier cities such as Manchester and Birmingham in England, Lyon in France, and Hanover and Dusseldorf in Germany, as well as from emerging markets.

The TAT will also focus on high-end and repeat tourists by promoting the Kingdom’s golf, spas, meeting and conference facilities, and services for honeymooners, Sugree said.

However, the number of tourists from Europe will depend on continued improvement and stability in the Thai political and economic situations, and the market could yet face another tough year, he added.

In Asia, a short-haul market for Thailand, the authority will promote |the Kingdom as a weekend holiday and shopping destination for those in |neighbouring countries, especially Singapore and Malaysia.

Seven TAT offices in the region have been assigned to work with travel operators and alliances to create marketing strategies and events for the coming year, as part of the celebration of the coming into being of the Asean Economic Community.

Under the “Discover Thainess” campaign, Sugree said the TAT aimed to promote tourism all year around under four themes.

The first is to promote 12-month events, the second is to continue seven clusters of attractions, and the third is to focus on seasonal events or activities under the “Dream Destinations” theme.

The TAT’s latest campaign is to promote 12 attractions in secondary destinations to the local market next year.

Of the 12-month element of the campaign, the authority will promote unique attractions or highlight activities each of month of the year, such as Chinese New Year, Songkran and Loy Krathong.

For the seven clusters, the authority aims to increase the number of visitors experiencing products ranging from natural beauty to historical sites, culture, food and Thai heritage sites.

Under a plan to promote secondary or unique provincial destinations, the TAT has strategically listed 12 cities such as Lampang, where time stands still. In the Northeast, unique destinations are Buri Ram, where modern and ancient civilisations meet, and Loei, the province with the most pleasant climate in Thailand.

In the East, Trat has been selected as an ideal destination to enjoy pristine islands and beaches, while Chanthaburi is the home of fruits of Thailand.

 

‘Digital economy’ draft law ready for NLA next month

Filed under: Economics,The Nation — SoClaimon @ 4:21 am
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ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Digital-economy-draft-law-ready-for-NLA-next-month-30247060.html

THE GOVERNMENT is expected to submit a draft “digital economy” law to the National Legislative Assembly next month, Information and Communications Technology Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said yesterday. Meanwhile, the government has a plan to develop affordable Thai-brand computer tablets to be marketed commercially.

Pornchai said the draft digital-economy law was based on 11 existing laws, including the Computer Crime Act and the E-commerce Act.

He said the government would set up a new committee to implement the digital-economy plan once the law takes effect. Up to now the National ICT Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, has been developing the digital-economy plan.

The government’s National Space Affairs Committee, which is also chaired by Pridiyathorn, is trying to conclude before the end of this month a plan to develop a national satellite to serve the digital-economy plan.

As for the low-cost-tablet plan, the ICT Ministry is in talks with Microsoft on possible collaboration to develop such devices specifically for the Thai market.”The idea is affordable tablets that all people can buy as part of the plan to drive the digital economy,” Pornchai said. The ICT Ministry will be responsibility for the software, while the Industrial Ministry will take care of the production, he said.

 

As expected, MPC keeps rate at 2%

Filed under: Economics,The Nation — SoClaimon @ 4:20 am
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ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/As-expected-MPC-keeps-rate-at-2-30247059.html

THE MONETARY Policy Committee yesterday surprised no one by voting overwhelmingly to leave the policy interest rate at 2 per cent in light of the “weaker than expected” economic recovery.

The MPC resolutely held the benchmark interest rate at 2 per cent for the fifth meeting since April 23 by a vote of 6-1.

Mathee Supapongse, secretary of the Bank of Thailand’s MPC, said the recent increase in government spending was not enough to compensate for the slowdown of other sectors.

The committee urged the government to stick with the acceleration of its fiscal-budget disbursement and its investment plan to support the economic recovery in the next period.

The MPC’s prediction for growth of gross domestic product in 2014 is 1.5 per cent, which is also expected to be revised along with its projection for exports, which was flat growth, since the sector is now in danger of shrinking this year.

“The MPC wants the government to carry on with its investment plan, since there are signs that it might be delayed, while the actual increase of the government’s investment will boost the confidence of the private sector and provide them with clarity. This will help them make decisions regarding their own investment,” Mathee said.

While volatility in global fund flows is expected to increase next year from the differences in the economic policies of major economies, the MPC is not worried and believes that investors still have confidence in Thailand’s economy, since it is still on the “growth path”.

“The divergence of polices of major economies, including the Bank of Japan’s decision [to expand its quantitative easing programme], do not have that much effect on Thailand at the moment, while the US has already terminated its QE regime.

“The raising of its [benchmark] interest rate will remain to be seen along with the greater consequences of the expected increase on fund flow volatility, which has yet to occur,” he said.

Jaruwat Preepreamkul, head of domestic fixed income and foreign sovereigns at UOB Asset Management, said the MPC maintained the status quo because economic figures in the third quarter were lower than what it was banking on. The MPC would probably have lowered the interest rate this time if the US economy had not recently picked up, he said.

The policy-makers might lower the interest rate in their next meeting in January if domestic government spending and the world economy do not pick up in this quarter as they expect. However, that would not help the economic expansion here.

The MPC will most likely maintain the policy interest rate at this level until the US raises its key interest rate, which UOB now expects by the third quarter of next year, because of the apparent braking of the global economic recovery.

“Right now, an increase of Thailand’s policy rate will most likely come after the increase of the US interest rate, since that move would be a precautionary action to help prevent the drastic effect from expected heavily volatile fund flows once the US lifts its rate,” Jaruwat said.

 

Inheritance-tax draft to be presented to Cabinet soon

ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Inheritance-tax-draft-to-be-presented-to-Cabinet-s-30246981.html

IMPOSITION

Sommai Phasee

Sommai Phasee

The draft inheritance-tax bill will be proposed to the Cabinet meeting next Tuesday with an expected fixed rate of no more than 10 per cent to be imposed on heirs of estates worth more than Bt50 million.

Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said yesterday that if the heirs did not have enough cash to pay the tax, they would be allowed to make instalments at no extra cost for two to three years.

After the Cabinet approves the draft bill, it will be tabled with the National Legislative Assembly, which is expected to take three months to consider it.

If a beneficiary receives assets from a donor who has not died yet within two years of the inheritance tax taking effect, those inherited assets will also be taxed to prevent tax avoidance.

Another new tax, this one on real estate, which would replace the house and land tax and local development tax, is expected to come into force in two years. It will likely be collected by the Revenue Department, instead of local units.

“The new draft bill on land and building taxes is expected to levy rates similar to those on cars. About 32 million plots of land have to be appraised, and this is expected to take two years to complete,” Sommai said.

Realty

Real estate for residential or agricultural purposes could be taxed at no more than 0.5 per cent of appraised value, commercial land at no more than 1 per cent and idle land at no more than 2 per cent.

A previous tax bill proposed a tax schedule of no more than 0.1 per cent for residential purposes, no more than 0.05 per cent tax for agricultural purposes and no more than 0.5 per cent tax for businesses.

The new draft bill would lessen the tax-collection gap. For example, the higher the land value, the lower the local development tax, he added.

 

Apec trade ministers push regional FTA

Filed under: Economics,The Nation — SoClaimon @ 4:17 am
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ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Apec-trade-ministers-push-regional-FTA-30246968.html

APEC

This week 21 trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group will make plans for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which supporters say will ensure sustainable growth in the region.

Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya is scheduled to meet with the Beijing government and Chinese traders to discuss ways to sell more Thai rice to China and tighten cooperation.

“China is one of the high-potential countries to import more rice from Thailand. Besides the 1-million-tonne contract, China should place more orders for Thai rice,” he said.

The general said he would lead companies to China to seek greater trade and investment opportunities through business matching with local enterprises.

After the Apec summit, he will meet with Chinese officials and local rice traders to encourage them to buy more rice from Thailand.

China should procure more rice to meet domestic demand and support countries that are its friends, he said.

The Thai government will also encourage China to import more Thai rubber and establish manufacturing operations in Thailand as measures to drive up the rubber price, Chatchai said.

Thawatchai Sophastienphong, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said that this year Apec countries should come up with a concrete agenda to move forward the FTAAP, as they agree that the free-trade agreement will help drive economic growth in the region amid the global uncertainty.

Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will lead a Thai delegation to this year’s Apec Ministers Meeting in Beijing on Friday and Saturday. This will be followed by the Apec CEO summit of leading businesspeople in the region on Sunday and Monday and the Apec Leaders Summit on November 11 and 12.

At this year’s conference, China as the host country has set the theme of “Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership”.

Apec members will discuss three key issues – advancing regional economic integration; promoting innovation development, economic reform and growth; and strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development.

After the meeting, China will sum up the agreement of all members and issue statements to the public.

Apec economies have set the goal to finalise the FTAAP by the end of next year. They aim to liberalise trade in goods and services among member economies and reduce non-tariff barriers.

Besides the Apec meeting, Thailand will also discuss bilateral agreements with Hong Kong and Australia.

Thailand and Hong Kong may come up with an agreement to promote economic and investment growth for both sides.

Thailand and Australia will talk further on increasing service liberalisation after the Thailand-AustraliaFTA had been implemented for almost 10 years.

 

Bosses urge delay in signing global labour-rights pacts

ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Bosses-urge-delay-in-signing-global-labour-rights–30246975.html

LABOUR-RIGHT

A business lobby has urged the government to delay the endorsement of the International Labour Organisation’s workers’ rights covenants, claiming Thailand’s labour structure is undergoing reform and the country is not ready for such drastic changes.

The recommendation of the Joint Standing Committee for Commerce, Industry and Banking came after the ILO called for the universal ratification of Conventions 87 and 98 on the Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise and Bargain Collectively by next year.

Convention 87 would give workers the right to establish or join organisations of their own choosing without authorisation from any agency. Such organisations would have the right to affiliate with any international organisation of workers and employers.

“From our survey of 4,000 operators, almost 100 per cent, especially members of the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, did not agree with the government signing the agreement for the ILO’s Conventions 87 and 98,” TCC chairman Isara Vongkusolkit said yesterday.

Business operators and the committee agreed that the country was reorganising its foreign labour force, so it was not ready to adapt if local and foreign workers gained the right to form a union without consent from the government. Such a move might upset “national stability”, the bosses say.

Postponement of the signing would not have much effect on Thailand’s position within the ILO, since there are many other countries that have yet to sign, including South Korea, while Singapore is the only country in Asean that has signed Convention 98 – and still has not signed 87.

The ILO has 185 member states.

As for the government’s push for the country to become an international trading hub within the region, Isara said Thailand was ready but he agreed with Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula that it still needed to improve many tax and non-tax regulations, especially rules for the setting up businesses.

A one-stop service centre is also needed for new business applications, work permits and visas, especially for high-level executives, he said. Requirements for work visas and temporary business visas should be relaxed to allow for a smoother transition.

The standing committee is preparing proposals for the amendment of regulations that will facilitate the country’s transition to a trading nation for the government to consider, he added.

Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the country’s export sector might not expand at all this year because of the shaky recovery of major trading partners.

The current depreciation trend of the baht against the US dollar also does not really help the troubled sector since the Thai unit is still stronger than the currencies of other countries in the region.

Regarding the government’s plan to create a Bt50-billion SME venture capital fund, that would be adequate to help provide small and medium-sized enterprises with more access to financing. But the government should be selective about which SMEs can access the fund, since they should be companies that are ready and have the potential at least to enter the Market for Alternative Investment in the future, Supant said.

The Revenue Department should find ways to educate SMEs on basic accounting so that they would have enough information to submit to financial institutions when asking for loans, he said. This would provide them with easier access to funds.