Thailand’s ‘Model car’ to be unveiled soon
Thailand’s prototype, energy-saving car dubbed the
‘model car’ will be unveiled soon as part of the government’s new
nation-wide campaign to promote energy saving.
The final design on the ‘model car’ will finalised
this week, Industry Minister Watana Muangsook told journalists last Friday.
“The Ministry of Industry will, thereafter, discuss a
production plan for the ‘model car’ with an automobile manufacturer,
maybe the Japanese firm Toyota,” he said.
The government plans to encourage government agencies and
taxis to use the prototype energy saving car as soon as it’s produced,
The planned ‘model car’ is part of the government’s
efforts to encourage motorists to save energy. The campaign is part of the
government’s efforts to reduce the country’s rising trade deficit, which
is largely a result of increased oil imports. (TNA)
Thailand to expand exports of hom mali rice to China
Thailand is in a bid to expand the Chinese market for
Thailand’s renowned hom mali rice, with a 150-strong Thai official
delegation visit to China for the purpose.
The trip, led by Deputy Commerce Minister Suriya
Lapwisuthisin from June 2-6, involved trade representatives, rice exporters,
and representatives of provincial governors.
Suriya told reporters that the delegation conducted
publicity events in Beijing and Dalian to boost recognition of hom mali rice
among the Chinese population, while the Department of Foreign Trade would
also seek to promote Thai fruits, including durians and mangosteens.
The overall aim of the trip was to ensure a unique
product recognition for Thai hom mali rice at a time when Thailand and China
are celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations. (TNA)
SET pushes for world class status
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is working to become
a fully integrated market in order to achieve world-class status and
recognition, the SET’s deputy president announced.
Chaiyut Chamnanlertkij, who is responsible for
supervising the SET’s use of information technology (IT), said that the
SET had drawn up a plan to develop the structure of stock trading and become
an integrated market by the end of the year.
Under the plans, the SET will develop infrastructure
technology in a bid to become a hub of debenture trading, a process that
should be completed by next month.
The move will accommodate trading in both private sector
debentures and government bonds, and the growing number of investors and
investment institutions. (TNA)
Gasohol plans jeopardized by rising ethanol prices
The government’s plans to back gasohol as an
alternative fuel have been thrown into jeopardy by the decision by ethanol
producers to raise the price of their product.
The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) was forced
to agree to gasohol subsidies, after ethanol producers called for the price
of ethanol to be increased from Bt12.75 to Bt16.50 per litre.
Metta Banturngsuk, the office’s director-general, told
reporters after a recent meeting of the Energy Policy Administration
Committee that while the State Oil Fund would subsidize the price of
gasohol, the exact value of the subsidy had yet to be determined.
The government is keen to ensure that the price of
gasohol remains Bt1.50 per litre lower than that of benzene 95 in order that
motorists have an incentive to purchase a fuel which helps Thailand save
money on expensive oil imports.
“The government is endeavouring to promote gasohol in
order to address the problem of oil imports and help maintain the price of
agricultural goods,” Metta said. “But if the price is excessively high,
we need to take appropriate action.”
Ethanol producers have suggested that the price of their
product be raised from Bt12.75 to Bt16.50 per litre, citing the rising cost
of the raw materials - molasses and tapioca - from which ethanol is made.
As a result, three ethanol production plants which were
due to open in May have had to postpone their launch dates, pending a
decision on the new price.
But fuel traders want to keep the price of ethanol below
Bt15 per litre, warning that they could face losses should the price rise
any further. (TNA)
OTOP Grand Sale closes with Bt500m sales
Thailand’s largest ever festival of locally-made
products closed last week after having clocked up over Bt500 million in
The OTOP Grand Sale of One Tambon One Product (OTOP)
goods, which began on May 27, attracted around 650,000 visitors who bought
Bt450 million worth of products at the fair itself and ordered around Bt50
According to Deputy Interior Minister Somchai
Sunthornvut, the minister responsible for community development, the most
popular products were traditional ‘thong lai’ sweets from the northern
Sukhothai province, silk and cotton clothing from the northeastern Ubon
Ratchathani province, tea from the northern Chiang Rai Province, pillows
from the northeastern Yasothon province, pearl products from the southern
Krabi province, leather bags from the western Kanchanaburi province, cloaks
from the northeastern Udon Thani province, benjarong pottery from the
northern Pichit province, painting from the northern Uthai Thani province
and fish liver curry from the southern Surat Thani province.
Food also proved a draw, with hits including fish balls,
crabs, fermented sausage, chili paste, grilled river prawns, roti, papaya
salad and jungle curry.
The Bt450,000 million made at the fair will help provide
vital income to over 70,000 households whose lives were badly affected by
the drought earlier in the year. (TNA)
PM defends decision
to monitor the baht
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has defended his
decision to closely monitor movements in the local currency.
“I have instructed the finance minister, Dr. Somkid, to
supervise the baht and ensure it reflects the real value. I have never given
any signal that the economy was in trouble,” the premier said.
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
The premier said he was paying special attention to the
continuing weakening of the baht but so far it has not damaged the economy.
“Our policy never focuses on strengthening or weakening
of the baht. Actually, it stresses that the baht’s movement should reflect
its real value. That’s all,” said Thaksin.
The prime minister admitted that Thailand’s trade
deficit was largely because of rising oil prices. Gross domestic product
(GDP) growth will be lower than the target and inflation rates will remain
high, he said.
“To address these problems, we need to supervise the
economy as a whole and restore investor confidence,” Thaksin said.
The premier pledged to try to revive economic growth by
the end of the year, although it would very tough.
“But it is usual to be hard-pressed because we are
hired to solve the problems, not to take a rest,” Thaksin said.
The government will have to work hard to maintain the country’s
economic growth, he said. (TNA)
Citizens massage their way
to a healthier income
Pattaya City’s deputy chief, Apichat Puetphan, recently
presided over the opening of a training course for Thai massage at the
public health centre on Soi Buakao. Aree Ob-Un, a trainer from Phumthong
Sriracha Thai Massage, gave a talk and demonstrations.
Deputy Chief Apichat Puetphan
The event was part of a Pattaya project to help the
population use their time to generate extra income, in this instance by
organising a training course for professional Thai massage for 10 days from
May 19-28. Many interested people attended the training.
Apichat said that Thai massage in Pattaya is accepted and admired by Thai
and foreign tourists alike. Many people visiting Pattaya use a Thai massage
service, and consequently this project is good for both attracting tourism
and for occupational support and extra income.
Close supervision of prices needed after diesel floatation
The Thai government plans to closely monitor consumer
prices after its decision to float the price of diesel last week.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has urged the
Commerce Ministry and state agencies concerned to monitor and supervise
inbound and outbound product prices following the government’s decision,
according to a senior official of the Internal Trade Department.
Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak
The Commerce Ministry plans to closely monitor product
prices and prevent traders and vendors increasing prices unreasonably,
Siripol Yodmuangcharoen, the department’s director-general, told TNA.
The ministry was prepared to place products and raw
materials found hoarded on the control list to compel producers to release
their stocks onto the market, he said.
“We want to reiterate that any entrepreneurs, who
refuse to sell products or try to hoard goods, are subject to a 7-year
prison sentence and or a fine of 140,000 baht or both,” he said.
The ministry also plans to peg the prices of products
used as raw materials in the production of goods, including steel, plastic
pellets and petrochemicals.
Price increases must be calculated on the basis of prices two years ago.
PM happy with public response
to energy saving drive
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has expressed his
satisfaction with the public’s response to the government’s new drive to
In the campaign launched last Wednesday, Thais have been
urged to turn off all unnecessary lights at night, turn off air-conditioners
during the lunch hour, and for motorists to drive less than 90 kilometres an
The premier and other ministers participated in the
launch of the campaign, “Thai Force – Save Energy Day”, at Government
House on Wednesday night, June 1.
They joined 14 million Thai households throughout the
country in a countdown to turn off unused lights for five minutes at 20:45
hrs to formally launch the energy-conservation campaign.
Thailand’s media giant, MCOT Public Company Limited
(MCOT), and the government’s Public Relations Department (PRD) jointly
broadcast the countdown live on television and radio networks across the
By turning off unnecessary lights, local electricity
consumption was reduced by 702 megawatts, or 44,000 power units normally
produced by the Bhumibol Dam, one of the country’s largest dams in the
northern Tak Province, and could save 43 million baht a year.
If people switch off two lights for an hour a day, it
could save around 1.2 billion baht a year, according to government
Thaksin said the government would continue to try to
encourage Thais to save energy.
All ministers and senior government officials have been
asked not to wear suits unless they are to attend official meetings. The
cooperation of all Thais is essential if the campaign is to successfully
reduce the country’s consumption of energy, he said.
The Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai
Industries (FTI), listed companies on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)
and the country’s top executives all fully co-operated on the first day of
the campaign, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Somkid
“It was a good start to the energy-saving campaign,
given the overwhelming cooperation by many offices and factories to reduce
their use of power,” he told TNA. (TNA)
Commerce Ministry told to keep tabs on exports and imports
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak ordered the
Ministry of Commerce to keep a close watch on imports, exports, and the
prices of consumer goods, amid growing fears that the government’s
decision to float the price of diesel could cause intense inflationary
Somkid, who is also finance minister and who convened an
emergency meeting with Deputy Commerce Minister Suriya Lapwisuthisin, the
director-general of the Department of Internal Trade, the director-general
of the Department of Export Promotion, and the president of the Government
Savings Bank (GSB), is said to have ordered all the agencies concerned to
ensure that retailers, manufacturers and importers would not take advantage
of the diesel float by raising the price of their products.
The directive from the deputy premier, which comes after
assurances from the Ministry of Commerce that the situation is under
control, represents the government’s most high-profile attempt to cushion
the impact of the diesel float.
Speaking after the meeting, Siripol Yodmuangcharoen, the
director-general of the Department of Internal Trade, said that the Ministry
of Commerce had warned all companies that their products would be placed on
a list of controlled goods should they be discovered hoarding goods or raw
The ministry will also place caps on the prices of raw
materials used in production, including steel, plastic beads and
petrochemicals, as well as daily necessities.
Under the proposals laid out at the meeting, the
Ministries of Finance and Commerce will work in close collaboration to
supervise the starting and the end price of goods, many of which are not yet
on the controlled goods list.
Retailers and manufacturers have already been warned of
harsh penalties should they violate the government’s directives, with
prison sentences of up to seven years and fines of up to Bt140,000. (TNA)