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Vol. XIV No. 28
Friday July 14 - July 20, 2006

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

 

BUSINESS 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

THAI spends Bt100 million in Suvarnabhumi Airport move

Siam Paragon establishes events arm

Thai-US FTA agreement could hurt SMEs

Thai Embassy in Washington urges speedy Thai-US FTA pact

Dusit Resort announces appointment of new Resident Manager

World giant automaker still upbeat about market growth in Thailand


THAI spends Bt100 million in Suvarnabhumi Airport move

Thai Airways International Plc. (THAI) will spend around Bt100 million in moving its operations base from Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang) to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Speaking after a meeting last week among concerned agencies to facilitate the move, Deputy Transport Minister Gen. Chainant Charoensiri said that THAI would need several thousand truck trips to move its base from Don Muang to Suvarnabhumi.
“THAI must transfer all its aeronautical, catering, office and other equipment to Suvarnabhumi Airport with 3,000 transport trips,” he said, adding that the move would intensify in the lead up to the new airport’s official opening in September.
The national flag carrier has hired private companies such as DHL and Total Logistics, which have expertise in conveyance to help move its facilities, the deputy minister said. (TNA)


Siam Paragon establishes events arm

Siam Paragon Development Co, operator of Bangkok’s largest shopping complex, has signalled its intention to grab a bigger slice of the meetings and events pie with the announcement it has set up a new subsidiary to handle the lucrative market.
Royal Paragon Enterprise Co will be responsible for organising events and marketing Siam Paragon as one of the region’s leading shopping destinations.
Siam Paragon Development chairman, Mr Charnchai Charuvastr, said the 400-million-baht (US$10.5 million) Royal Paragon Hall, with a space of 12,000m2 on the fifth floor of the shopping complex, could host exhibitions, trade fairs and special events.
He said: “We want to create exposure for our venue among incentive tour groups, because they have high purchasing power. If there is an incentive tour twice a month at Siam Paragon Hall, spending at Siam Paragon will increase an extra 10 per cent.” (TTG)


Thai-US FTA agreement could hurt SMEs

The privately run Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has asked the government to be cautious before signing a free trade area (FTA) agreement with the US that could hurt vulnerable Thai industries, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The TDRI warned that the government must weigh the pros and cons of signing the accord as the potential impact on Thailand’s SMEs in various sectors could be significant, and although trade and investment would rise for about five years and the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by around 1.6-1.8 per cent, Thai businesses would still suffer.
The planned Thai-US FTA agreement would benefit only a few Thai industries, including automotive production, leather and textiles according to the TDRI.
Dr. Jirawat Panpiemras, a TDRI research specialist in its International Economic Relations Program, said the kingdom’s pharmaceutical industry would also be impacted if an FTA agreement between the two countries were signed, as it would push up medical costs and prevent poor patients from having access to affordable medicines. (TNA)


Thai Embassy in Washington urges speedy Thai-US FTA pact

Thailand should do its utmost to conclude its free trade area (FTA) negotiations with the US as speedily as possible in order to continue to enjoy the generalized system of preferences (GSP), which is due to expire at the end of this year, Thai ambassador to the United States Virasakdi Futrakul said last weekend.
There are signs that Washington might cut the GSP privileges currently extended to Brazil, India and Thailand at the end of 2006 and offer them instead to countries in Africa and South America, citing as the reason that the three countries are now competitive enough to trade without concessions, Mr. Virasakdi said.
In terms of GSP value, Thailand - which is among 10 countries receiving GSP privileges from the US - derives about US$3.6 billion (Bt.137 billion) benefit from the accord, and the country will have to pay a hefty amount of additional tariffs if the arrangement ceases.
At current trade levels for example, Thailand would incur 5.5-6.5 per cent or about US$780 million (Bt.30 billion) in duty on jewellery and ornaments, 2.5-6.5 per cent or about US$180 million (Bt. 6.8 billion) on televisions, 3.2-3.9 per cent or US$142 million (Bt.5.4 billion) on plastic products, duties for automotive parts at US$133 million (Bt.5 billion), US$124 million (Bt.4.7 billion) on plastic resins and US$119 million (Bt.4.5 billion) on rubber products.
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, acting partly in his capacity as commerce minister, and business sector delegates who are accompanying him, plan to raise the GSP issue during talks with American officials in the US, Ambassador Virasakdi said.
Washington is now negotiating FTA agreements with Malaysia and South Korea and any delay by Thailand in concluding an accord will only hurt Thailand-US trade, he said. If an agreement on the FTA is concluded between the kingdom and the US, Thailand’s trade ranking with the US would move forward to tenth position from its current 17th ranked place, surpassing Malaysia.
Most importantly, Vietnam is expected to normalize trade with the US by the end of this year and should it succeed, Hanoi would become a strong competitor in ASEAN. (TNA)


Dusit Resort announces appointment of new Resident Manager

The General Manager of the Dusit Resort, Chatchawal Supachayanont, recently announced the appointment of Mr. Marcus Wirsching as Resident Manager of the five-star, 462-room property in Pattaya. Mr. Wirsching, a German national, will assist the General Manager in the overall operations of the hotel and will oversee the implementation of new initiatives being launched by the Dusit Resort.

Marcus Wirsching, the newly appointed Resident Manager of the Dusit Resort, Pattaya.
Mr. Wirsching brings a strong background in operations to his position. Prior to joining the Dusit Resort, he was the hotel manager of Radisson, SAS Hotel in Hamburg for two years. His hospitality career spans 18 years including four years with Radisson SAS Hotels in Germany, Scotland, and Poland, two years with Hilton in Sri Lanka; as well as other international chain hotels in Thailand and overseas. Wirsching is relocating to Pattaya from Hamburg with his wife Dulika.
Wirsching’s excellent background in F&B operations and Banqueting will further establish Dusit Resort’s strong foothold as one of Pattaya’s prime venues in MICE business. Dusit Resort, Pattaya has meeting and banquet facilities that can accommodate from as few as five and up to convention-size 2,500 people, complete with world-class accommodation, full catering and professional technical support.


World giant automaker still upbeat about market growth in Thailand

Ford Motor Co. Ltd, one of the world’s largest automakers, insists it is ready to increase investment in Thailand as the company still retains confidence in the automobile market in the country.
Tom Brewer, Chairman of Ford (Thailand) Co., said in a statement last Wednesday that although there is a common view that the Thai economy is slowing down, the company holds no fears of investing in the future of the automobile industry in Thailand.
After previously investing 40 billion baht in Thailand, Mr. Brewer said that Ford wants to expand its business in Asia and sees Thailand as the hub of one-ton truck production in the region. The company plans to establish a representative office for both the Asia-Pacific and African regions in Bangkok.
Ford has continuously worked to improve and increase the production capacity of its plant in Thailand and it is projected that its annual capacity will rise to 200,000 units by 2008.
The company also plans to increase the network of product and service distributors.
Mr. Brewer said the firm views the Asian markets as a key driving force for the Ford Motor Company’s move towards the 21st century.
He also called on the Thai government to have a clearer policy on alternative energy. In the past, he said, the government had steered policy towards encouraging the production of natural gas for vehicles (NGV), ethanol and bio-diesel. Now, with the political upheaval, the firm remains uncertain which state agencies are in charge of overseeing the alternative energy drive and this is causing concern amongst strategists in the automobile industry. (TNA)



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