Exel opens new export and logistics branch on the Eastern Seaboard
The latest addition to the freight export and logistics
scene recently opened in Sriracha. Exel (Thailand) Limited Company
officially opened their office at Talay Thong tower in Sriracha to service
regional industry. The company already has 89 branches scattered throughout
the Asia Pacific rim and over 8,000 employees with their head office based
Tiewthanom (left), director of the Laem Chabang industrial estate and Graham
Lunney (right), Exel managing director South Asia with guests and customers
at the opening of the Sriracha office.
Exel managing director, Graham Lunney opened the office
with honored guest Narapoj Tiewthanom, director of the Laem Chabang
During the opening, branch manager Grant Enders said that
the company already has a large customer base in the area and that it is
more beneficial for them if they are close by as this enables the company to
provide better services.
Exel began operations in the year 2000 with the merging of two companies
in freight and logistics. They now provide services around the globe with
over 65,000 people from 120 countries on six continents providing high
quality services to all their customers, local, regional or global based.
Thais told to prepare
for increased Chinese investment
The Chinese government has hinted that Thailand could be
the recipient of a portion of US$10 billion-worth of investment by Chinese
companies, according to the KASIKORN Research Center, which in a recently
published report called on Thailand to use its close relationship with China
to attract Chinese business and industrial partnerships.
The Chinese government’s policy of promoting foreign
investment could provide a boon for Thailand, which enjoys a close
relationship with its near neighbor. As a result, Thailand is likely to see
an influx of Chinese companies and state enterprises eager to invest in the
Various economic cooperation projects between the two
countries, notably the opening up of free trade in fruit and vegetables,
will encourage Chinese businesspeople to look for channels to enter into
joint investment projects with their Thai counterparts. This will be
particularly apparent in the agro-industrial sector and related downstream
industries, resulting in a rise in exports of these products to other
The report also noted that the development of transport
links between Thailand and other countries in the Mekong sub-region - Laos,
Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and China’s Yunnan Province - was also likely
to facilitate Chinese investment. These communications routes would also
provide transport links with other countries in the wider region, including
India, with Thailand acting as a transport and communications hub. These
transport links, whether by land, air or river, would serve to boost trade,
investment and tourism by collapsing journey times.
The research center report said that economic cooperation
among members of the Greater Mekong Sub-region was set to boost Chinese
interest in investing in Thailand, noting that businesses from China’s
Yunnan Province were already placing their money in projects in the northern
Thai province of Chiang Rai. The Thai government’s development of the
northern border region as a special economic zone was already resulting in
bilateral projects, whether in terms of transportation or tourism.
At the same time, the two countries are likely to engage
in exchanges of technology and joint research and development (R&D)
projects, thus promoting economic development in both countries and in the
wider Asian region. (TNA)
Export offensive plan goes to MOC
The Department of Export Promotion has drawn up a
marketing offensive designed to boost exports by 10-12 percent, according to
department director Chantra Buronrik. Chantra said that the plan, which is
hoped allow Thailand to achieve its 2004 export target, would now be
proposed to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
On 11 January Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak
is due to chair an integrated meeting to brainstorm ideas from various
agencies involved with foreign trade, namely the Ministry of Industry, the
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Board of Investment, the
Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The private sector will be represented by the Thai Chamber of Commerce,
the Federation of Thai Industries and the Council of Shipping Exporters.
New land assessment price will benefit economy
An increase in the land assessment price by 14.44% will
benefit Thailand’s economy, rather than having negative effects, according
to the Finance Ministry.
Kitti Limsakul, assistant to the finance minister,
conceded that the new assessment price set by the Treasury Department would
more or less increase land prices. But it would help reflect the actual cost
of the economy, he stated.
He said, however, that the general public would
definitely bear higher costs of house ownership; still, the overall economy
would be balanced.
“Before the crisis, property prices were excessively
inflated without any mechanism to put a brake on them. The new assessment
price will also definitely affect entrepreneurs, but it should help reduce
speculation, which could help enhance the stability of the economy. I
believed it will also prompt commercial banks to accelerate coping with
non-performing assets (NPLs). The banks can take this opportunity to place
the assets on sale in the market, as interest rates remain low, and the
economy is still picking up,” Kitti said.
Somchai Sajjapong, Deputy Finance Ministry spokesman,
said that the new assessment price would help facilitate the
debt-restructuring process because prices which collateral debtors had
pledged with the banks would rise.
Non-performance loans (NPLs) now stand at more than 15%
of total loans in the banking system. The new assessment price should help
increase revenue earned by local administrative organizations from various
tax and fee collections. It would also enable the business sector to assess
business costs more accurately. (TNA)
to overhaul private enterprises
The government’s commitment to upgrading Thailand’s
competitiveness was reaffirmed when Deputy Prime Minister Somkid
Jatusripitak recently announced that he had ordered the Thai Productivity
Institute to take a leading role in developing both state and private sector
Under the plan, strategic policy offensive will fall in
line with the government’s vision of transforming Thailand into a fully
developed nation. This will be achieved by upgrading Thailand’s national
competitiveness to enable it to compete with other nations in the global
arena of free trade.
As an important government driver, the Thai Productivity
Institute will help encourage state agencies to overhaul their working
practices, whether in terms of knowledge, personnel development, or
technology, with the focus on the industrial, agricultural and service
sectors and will support the development of research and innovations.
“The Institute will have to free itself from being a
supporting agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Industry, and
transform itself into a national level institution to assist small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large-scale businesses and other agencies.
Its funds of 220 million baht will be used both to expand its operations and
to increase staffing levels. The government will provide full financial
support, as the government aims to attach a high level of importance to this
organization,” Somkid said.
In addition, the Thai Productivity Institute will be
asked to link its work with that of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the
Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), using methods successfully practiced by
private sector heavyweights such as Thai Cement Plc. Special teams will be
established to oversee each specific area of operations, while academics
will be pulled in from educational institutions. (TNA)
Foreign debt repaid from excess reserves
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra recently stated that he
has ordered government agencies to study the feasibility of using
Thailand’s huge volume of capital reserves to repay the nation’s foreign
The prime minister noted that Thailand’s capital
reserves were now at the extremely high level of US$42 billion. Thaksin told
government agencies to determine the most suitable volume of capital
reserves for Thailand’s economic situation, and to study the possibility
to using an excess capital to make foreign debt repayments.
“In practice, capital reserves should be around two
times higher than short-term debts. When debts and capital reserves are
calculated according to this formula, I expect that we will have an excess
of around 300 billion baht,” he said. “I have given related agencies the
policy of using this excess to make debt repayments, which will reduce
government debts to zero. Thailand will become an extremely strong nation. I
believe that none of this is too difficult, and will take around 3-4 years
to implement,” he said. (TNA)
300 billion earmarked for
Director-General of the Royal Irrigation Department
Samart Chokkanapitark recently announced that a proposal will be made to the
government to allocate funding of 300 billion baht for its nationwide water
management strategies over the next five years as part of a wider plan to
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Samart said that the
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives had requested the funding to solve
problems related to the country’s water supply, whether for agriculture or
general consumption, both within designated irrigation districts and outside
them. “The money will also be used for the construction of large-scale
projects, including dams, relating to water management,” he said.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Somsak Thepsuthin
said that the water management strategies, currently being drawn up, formed
part of the ministry’s wider plans to solve problems faced by the
nation’s agricultural sector. He conceded that the proposed 300 billion
baht budget could rise to as much as 400-500 billion, depending on the
details of the projects involved. (TNA)
Crackdown on copyright
violations showing results
The Ministry of Commerce has heralded a 90
percent success rate in controlling violations of intellectual property
rights. Revealing contents of a Ministry of Commerce report recently
disclosed to the Cabinet, Government Spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said that
over the past three months, operations in areas controlled by 18 police
stations had led to a 90 percent reduction in intellectual property right
violations, with arrests that would lead to 653 criminal cases.
Jakrapob conceded the crackdown on producers of
counterfeit products had often simply resulted in them relocating their
production bases to other areas of Thailand and to neighboring countries.
“In the short term the ministry will continue to target
certain areas, particularly during holiday periods. Relevant legislation
will be amended. Anyone involved in the trade of counterfeit tapes and
television products will face charges under the Tape and Television Products
Act and the Consumer Protection Act,” Jakrapob said. (TNA)
Market cap of PTT expected to increase
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra expressed confidence
that the combined market capitalization of PTT Public Company Limited (PTT)
and companies under its umbrella would increase to 1 trillion baht from 700
billion baht at present.
Presiding over a function to celebrate the 25th
anniversary of the establishment of PTT, Thaksin affirmed the government’s
commitment for continued support in the performance of PTT, and projected
the value of the company’s share price would further increase in the next
five years. He said PTT would still serve as the government’s key
mechanism in adopting an assertive strategy in the energy affair and
competition in the region.
Prasert Bunsumpun, President of PTT, said, “Currently, the company
distributes around 2.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day which is 35
percent of the country’s total energy consumption. PTT plans to invest 400
billion baht for business expansion in the next ten years to help the
country become an energy trade hub in the region.”
Rice, the miracle food
Thai researchers have discovered that Thai rice is packed
with vitamins, minerals, protein, and anti-carcinogens several times more
powerful than vitamins E and C, according to the head of the DNA laboratory
at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC).
“Rice is a miracle food. It contains protein and
carbohydrate, as well as vitamins which are essential for the body. This is
especially true for rice bran and rice germ, which contain several types of
vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin D, as well as minerals which are an
important constituent of muscles, blood, the nervous system and teeth. These
minerals also help the body absorb vitamins. Rice contains calcium,
potassium, phosphorous, iron and other minerals. Moreover, anti-carcinogens
have been discovered in rice bran and rice germ, which offer 10 times better
protection against the formation of abnormal cells than vitamins E and C,”
said Dr. Somwong Trakunrung.
“Our country is blessed with a diversity of rice
strains. We can develop this for our benefit, using technology to modify
Thai rice strains to ensure high levels of iron and higher quantities of
fat, minerals and vitamins. We must have procedures to ensure that these
things add value to rice. In the future farmers will no longer be poor,”
Dr. Somwong said. (TNA)