TGI and OIE join hands for a new educational
Industrial model and knowledge enhancement to compete in the world market
In all industry, education is key to keeping up with
modern enhancements and thus competing in the world market. Thai industry is
receiving some much needed help in this area from the Office of Industrial
Economics under the Ministry of Industry, and the Thai German Institute. To
further this aim, the two entities are combining efforts and last week
organized a seminar with the theme “Industrial Model and Knowledge
Enhancement for Thai Industrial Development”.
Rattana, Suchada Woraporn and Wiroj Srisant, chairman of the association
model for Thai industry speak to the press.
Suchada Woraporn, Office of Industrial Economics deputy
director joined Narong Rattana, Thai director of the Thai German Institute (TGI)
in opening the seminar and announcing this new joint project to develop
Thailand’s bustling industrial sector.
Over 60 engineers, business operators and related
professionals attended the seminar, held at the Emerald Hotel in Bangkok.
One of the major aims of the seminar was to get these professionals together
so that they could create a knowledge base program of the aforementioned
model to use in the development of the industrial sector.
Rattana (right), Thai Director of the Thai German Institute and Suchada
Woraporn, deputy director of the Office of Industrial Economics (OIE) speak
to the media.
The first section of the proposed model is based around
recognizing the need for manufacturers to produce quality goods within
strict controls and standards, especially in the automotive, transport,
medical, electrical and electronics fields. These sectors are seen as
important areas to develop to be able to compete with neighboring countries
in both quality and price.
The second section deals with improving the personnel
knowledge base in industry. The government sees the importance in any
production plant, in both the business investment field and investor
relations, to further research and development within the country.
The national economic and social development plan
outlines the importance of the automotive, electrical goods and electronics
industries to improve Thailand’s economic status and promote quality goods
in the world market. The government recognizes the need to improve the
outlook in these industrial sectors by producing high quality goods for the
international market and reducing the need for imports.
TGI was given the reigns to develop educational and
quality controls using current industry as a model for development to
Narong Rattana, TGI director said, “Thailand is in the
process of preparing for the next step in industry, to become a world class
center for manufacturing. Creating a knowledge base and allowing access to
facilities, TGI focuses on preparing individuals for the industry through
education and turning them into professionals in their field. This can aid
in the development of Thailand’s industrial sector and allow us to
successfully compete with our neighbors. As for economics, it is important
to reduce the need for imported goods, as Thailand currently imports a
phenomenal amount. Whatever the case may be, we must develop the workforce
and improve their value to the marketplace relatively quickly.”
Government wants balanced budget next year
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has expressed
confidence that the government will be able to achieve a balanced budget by
next year, well ahead of the government’s original schedule.
Government Spokesman Sita Divari quoted Thaksin as
telling ministers gathering for a recent cabinet meeting that government tax
revenue had significantly exceeded the target figure, and that by the end of
the 2003 fiscal year tax revenue would be 120 billion baht above the
original target. It was previously thought that the budget would not be
balanced until the latter part of 2005.
It was estimated that other government revenue was likely
to be an additional 50 billion baht above target figure, leaving a total
excess of 170 billion baht. The PM feels that if revenue collection remains
on track, the government would be able to achieve a balanced budget or even
a budget surplus next year. (TNA)
Policy on food safety will promote food exports
The government’s policy to set 2004 as the Food Safety
Year will help boost the continued growth of the country’s food exports
and foreign tourists’ confidence, according to a report by KASIKORN
Research Center (KRC).
The KRC report projected the food export value this year
would be around US$11 billion, up 13.1% from that of the previous year. The
report added that the government’s tough measures in checking standards of
food and certifying the products will lead to a continued increase in food
exports next year.
Currently, many countries often use the food hygiene
standard as a pretext to impose trade barriers, which has adversely affected
the food export business of trading partners. The policy to set 2004 as the
Food Safety Year, to be implemented by the Public Health and Agriculture and
Cooperative Ministries, will help ease the adverse impact.
More importantly, the policy will help strengthen health
standards for local and foreign consumers, which could indirectly boost the
image of Thailand as the world’s key food exporting country. (TNA)
Thailand and Singapore to join hands in automotive industry development
An automotive forum organized jointly by Thai automobile
component manufacturers and International Enterprise Singapore (IE) is
likely to lead to further cooperation between the two countries in the
development of the region’s automotive industry, the director of the
Office of Industrial Economics announced. Damri Sukhothanong said that the
decision to jointly organize the STEER Automotive Forum had come after Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met his Singapore counterpart Goh Chok Tong to
discuss ways to expedite the integration of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) economy.
Damri said that Thaksin felt that discussions should
begin with industries which represented the strengths of particular ASEAN
countries, namely the automotive industry and the food industry.
Meanwhile HE Chan Heng Wing, Singaporean ambassador to
Thailand, announced that at the end of August, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid
Jatusripitak would lead a delegation of Thai businesspeople to Singapore to
participate in a joint meeting to discuss the progress made since an initial
joint meeting in February 2002, which saw Thailand exporting frozen beef to
Singapore for the first time. (TNA)
SET plans road show with 10 listed companies
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) plans to have a road
show in Europe and the US in September, promoting medium-sized listed
companies with a minimum market capitalization of three billion baht.
SET President Kittirat Na Ranong said, “Foreign
investors are now familiar with Thai big-cap companies. Considering the
price-per-earning ratios of various medium-sized companies, these shares are
not overpriced, and their performance has been better.”
Kittirat said, “The road show will be geared to bring
fresh capital into the country as Thailand’s economic forecast is looking
very healthy. The recent rally of the Thai stock market has been an
encouraging sign as it has offered a higher return when compared to other
During discussions with several foreign fund managers the
SET received a good response. Foreign investors did, however stress the need
for clear and precise information regarding each company before decisions
about investments were made. (TNA)
SME workers will be sent for skills training in Japan
The Ministry of Labor is collaborating with the Japanese
Association for International Manpower Development of Medium and Small
Enterprises (IMM Japan) to send Thai workers for skills training in Japan.
Labor Minister Suwat Liptapanlop announced the recent signing of a deal
between the ministry and IMM, witnessed by himself, together with the
permanent secretary for labor and the Thai ambassador to Japan.
The training program was in fact started in 1999 but
proved unsuccessful. Only 122 Thai students were sent to Japan for training
in the program’s first four years, compared to an annual intake of
2,000-3,000 from Indonesia.
As a result, the Ministry of Labor ordered the program to
be reassessed, with a new deal signed with the IMM to ensure that students
sent to Japan for training would gain employment in the fields in which they
Under the new deal, students will be eligible to stay in
Japan for a three-year period, during which time they will receive income of
80,000 yen (26,000 baht) in the first year, and more in the second and third
years, with a 600,000 yen (200,000baht) lump sum paid on completion of the
course to allow them to return to Thailand and find work.
“Trainees who complete the three-year program will also
be selected to work in Thailand-based Japanese companies. This guarantee of
employment will not only increase the confidence of the trainees, but would
also boost the confidence of Japanese investors, who would be guaranteed a
skilled workforce,” said the labor minister. (TNA)
EU relaxes testing on Thai chicken imports
Brussels, Belgium (AP) - The European Union’s head
office has decided to relax testing on the import of chicken from Thailand,
saying Thai authorities had upgraded their own safety checks to ensure no
banned antibiotics were in the products.
The European Commission said more stringent rules
implemented by Thailand over the past year “have shown a major improvement
in the situation.”
It said Thai authorities have “guaranteed that all
consignments of poultry meat are submitted to a systematic pre-shipment
check” to control whether banned veterinary drugs were present. The
Commission said the 15-nation bloc would “reduce the frequency” of their
checks to only 20 percent of all certified Thai imports.
EU authorities took measures to make testing on all
imports of Thai shrimp and poultry products mandatory after residues of
banned animal antibiotics were found in two batches shipped to Britain last
year March. Drugs found in the tests included Nitrofurans, and
chloramphenicol, both banned by the EU due to their alleged health risk to
The EU lifted mandatory testing requirements for shrimp
imports from Thailand in June of this year.
Toyota chief warns FTA’s could deal blow to car industry
The chief of Toyota Motors Thailand moved last week to
temper the government’s establishment of free trade areas (FTA),
cautioning that they could have an adverse impact on the automobile and
components industries. However, his comments were brushed off by Commerce
Minister Adisai Bodharamik, who countered that Thailand’s automotive
industry was sufficiently strong to be able to deal with competition.
Speaking after a meeting with Toyota President Ryoichi
Sasaki, Adisai said that the Toyota chief had thanked the government for
solving problems concerning the hot-rolled steel industry, on which the
motor industry depends, and had noted Thailand’s continuing economic
However, Sasaki had expressed concern over the
establishment of FTA’s with countries including India, Australia and
China, warning that they could deal a blow to Thailand’s automobile and
components industries, in which many Japanese companies have invested
Toyota is particularly concerned about China, due to the
size of the Chinese market. Sasaki said that most automotive investment in
China was by European manufacturers, and that Thailand and China were thus
unlikely to be in direct competition. However, Sasaki conveyed willingness
to provide Thailand with information, and to help in the exchange of ideas.
China has already agreed to establish an FTA with
Thailand, and India is expected to follow suit on the 10th of October. (TNA)
Thai-Australian FTA suffers setbacks
According to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the
establishment of a free trade area (FTA) between Thailand and Australia is
probably not going to be completed on target by the end of the year.
Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Sita Divari said that
the prime minister had blamed the delays on the large number of ministries
involved, and had asked the Ministry of Commerce to liaise with other
ministries to get the project back on track.
Sdn. Ldr. Sita also quoted Commerce Minister Adisai
Bodharamik as expressing confidence that there would be no major glitches in
the establishment of FTA’s with other countries such as India, as the
details of these plans were now nearly complete.
The commerce minister said that the establishment of an
FTA with the United States looks likely to proceed smoothly - but he blamed
the delay in the Australian case on discrepancies in information, and the
Australian perception of Thailand gaining trade advantages from the deal. (TNA)
Exporters celebrate easing of dollar restrictions
Thai exporters welcomed the Bank of Thailand’s (BOT)
latest move to ease certain currency control regulations, saying that the
export sector would greatly benefit from the decision to extend the period
for holding foreign currency deposits from three months to six months.
Santi Vilassakdanont, Vice President of the Federation of
Thai Industries said, “The BOT’s decision will have a positive impact on
exporters, as it will give them a greater range of currency options.
Allowing exporters to hold US currency will help cut exchange rate costs
when purchasing machinery and raw materials from abroad, while the new
regulations will also benefit Thailand’s international reserves.”
While Santi conceded that a number of entrepreneurs might
use the new regulations as an excuse to engage in currency speculation, he
denied that this would be a major problem. At the same time, he downplayed
speculation that the new regulations might lead to greater fluctuations of
the Thai baht, noting that the Thai currency had remained fairly stable for
the past year, and that the world economy still showed few signs of
Industrial confidence index surges to record high
The industrial confidence index in June surged to 103.7
from 97.5 points in May, which is the highest in this year, according to the
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Santi Vilassakdanont, Vice President of FTI, disclosed
that the confidence index in production costs, net profits, economic
conditions, corporate performance, and competitiveness had increased, while
that in total sale and output had slightly dropped.
Of all 30 industries surveyed, the confidence index
numbers in 17 industries were above 100 points and the remaining 13 were
below the level.
He said the survey found that most entrepreneurs viewed
lending rates, economic conditions, and public utility services had a
positive impact on their business, while fuel prices were negative factor.
Those who were surveyed said currency exchange rates,
measures to facilitate lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
import tariff restructuring under ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), and
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic had not affected their
Santi said, “Most entrepreneurs saw the direction of
economic conditions, corporate performance, total orders and sale, output,
net profits, and production costs in a positive way. It reflected they had
confidence in the industrial-sector growth in the future.” (TNA)