Plans by the government to collect land and buildings tax, aimed at narrowing social disparities and enabling the state to collect more taxes, are postponed to an indefinite period because people are still suffering from the general economic slowdown in the country, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha reiterated Friday, March 13.

SEJONG, March 6 - South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will join forces to make inroads into promising renewable energy markets, the government said Friday.

The deal came as South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in the UAE the same day as part of her nine-day, four-nation trip to the Middle East to strengthen ties with the region.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was inked in Abu Dhabi on Thursday that can harness South Korea's technical know-how in the energy and industrial sectors with the UAE's financial clout and understanding of regional markets.

The MOU is expected to further accelerate bilateral cooperation in markets that have good growth potential, such as Egypt.

South Korea and the UAE have been working together to enter the North African country's solar energy sector, as well as port development and ship repair works. Other African countries can also become future markets for joint projects.

Under the latest agreement, the two sides will set up a standing consultative group chaired by ministerial-level officials that will oversee feasibility studies and carry out research.

"The latest MOU lays the foundation for the two sides to penetrate new growth markets that can benefit all sides," the ministry said.It pointed out that joint cooperation can allow South Korean businesses to capture emerging markets ahead of the competition and allow South Korean workers to find jobs in these countries and with businesses that support such operations. (Yonhap)

BEIJING, March 6 - China will slash coal consumption by 160 million tonnes in the next five years to reduce air pollution, according to an action plan released on Friday.

Jointly released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the Finance Ministry, the 2015-2020 action plan on the efficient use of coal underlines the country's efforts and target for greener energy use.

Reducing coal consumption will involve eliminating outdated production capacity and using cleaner energy such as hydropower, nuclear, wind and solar, said the action plan.

The highlight of the action plan is using fiscal and financial policies to support coal consumption cuts by pumping more funds and financing to battle pollution, said Gao Yunhu, a senior official of MIIT.

Currently, China's coal consumption accounts for about 66 percent of primary energy use, 35 percentage points higher than the world average.

China aims to bring its share of non-fossil energy to 15 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2030.

According to the annual government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang Thursday, the Chinese government plans to reduce energy intensity, or units of energy per unit of GDP, by 3.1 percent in 2015. (Xinhua)

Hirunya Suchinai, acting secretary-general of the Board of Investment (BoI), said a positive Japanese response to the new BoI policies was aired during the Thai ministers’ visit to Tokyo last month.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 14:00

Workers needed for five key industries

As Thailand is now heading towards an elderly society, the Industry Ministry’s Office of Industrial Economics has projected that the country would need about 3.3 million workers for five key industries from 2015 – 2017.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 13:58

Thailand needs new energy sources

Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee said the government would be able to decide on the fate of the planned opening of the 21st round of oil and gas exploration concession bidding after the one-day public forum on the issue ended last wee. He stressed that Thailand needs to find new energy sources.

Narongchai told journalists investors would be allowed to submit bidding forms until March 16.

He said former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had called on the government to amend the Petroleum Act before opening bidding. The Act was earlier amended six times, and the current version is believed to be the most suitable for issuing concessions.

Whether the Act would be amended in future depends on National Legislative Assembly (NLA) consideration, Narongchai said, adding that he believed the concession system favored by the government would benefit the country more than the production sharing system demanded by those opposing the upcoming bidding.

It is projected that Thailand will have to import all its oil and gas in the next seven years for domestic use and the cost would double, he said.

Even if a concession is given now, it would take four to five years before a new energy source is found.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Panadda Diskul said while presiding at the forum’s opening that the government was “sincere in listening to public opinion” and the outcome of the public forum would be reported directly to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Representatives of the Energy Ministry, the private sector, the civil society group, the National Reform Council and the NLA attended the government-sponsored forum amid tight security.

Speakers were divided into two sides with each side having four persons allowed to express opinions.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for Energy Kurujit Nakornthap told the forum that during the most recent round of concessions, only 50 billion cubic feet per year of natural gas was found.

Currently, demand for natural gas in Thailand stands at 1.8 trillion cubic feet while only 1.3 trillion cubic feet has been found, which is worrisome, Kurujit said.

Several countries consume about 80 percent of the world’s total gas consumption, and the Energy Ministry has amended the law and listened to public opinion constantly, Kurujit added.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 13:54

DLT develops new app for taxi passengers

After receiving many complaints from passengers on the quality and poor services given by taxi drivers, the Transport Ministry’s Department of Land Transport (DLT) has come up with a new smartphone application allowing users to report on the safety and service of taxis they use for travel.

BANGKOK, Feb 23 - The Social Development and Human Security Ministry has ordered the setting up of centres to solve trafficking in women and children in 37 provinces which are at risk from the problem.

BANGKOK, Feb 23 -- Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul expressed her concern after a 48-year-old Chilean was killed in a collision by a pickup truck in Thailand.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:25

China tops patent applications list in 2014

BEIJING, Feb. 23 - China had more invention patent applications than any other country in 2014 for the fourth year running, official data showed on Monday.

The number of invention patent applications filed to the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) in 2014 stood at 928,000, up 12.5 percent from 2013, the SIPO said.

The office authorized a total of 233,000 invention patents in the year, 163,000 of which were from Chinese applicants.

By the end of 2014, China had 663,000 invention patents with high quality and market value, and the number of invention patents per 10,000 Chinese people reached 4.9, the SIPO said.

China has seen rising numbers of patent applications as part of a drive to upgrade the economy. However, the country's invention patents still lack a competitive edge, experts said.

One of the government's priorities has been to boost innovation by improving intellectual property rights protection. (Xinhua)

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