Foreigners’ Participation in Thai Listed Companies explained – Thailand Business News


Similar to foreign business laws existing in most Asian countries, Thai laws have imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of Thai companies.

These restrictions are stipulated in the Foreign Business Act 1999 and specific laws governing certain sectors, e.g. the Banking Act, Insurance Act, and Land Act. In addition, some companies may choose to incorporate foreign ownership limit in their articles of association.

Special vehicles have been created to facilitate foreign investors so that they are able to invest in Thai securities flexibly and conveniently. 

In normal practice, foreign investors have to invest in securities designated for foreign investors on the foreign board to fully obtain all voting rights and financial benefits. In case that the foreign ownership limit has been reached and foreign investors cannot acquire securities designated for foreign investors, they may choose to trade in domestic liquidity pool by investing in securities designated for local investors on the local board.

They are allowed to flexibly buy and sell securities on the local board to gain capital gain from the price movement; however, foreigners are not entitled to obtain any voting rights and dividend from the company if they hold securities designated for local investors on the bookclosing date

Foreign investors are allowed to conveniently convert securities designated for local investors to those designated for foreign investors at anytime as long as the foreign ownership limit has not yet been reached.

The conversion request can be made to a custodian who is a depository member of Thailand Securities Depository (TSD).  In the event that the foreign ownership limit has been reached, foreign investors’ conversion request will be placed on a queue, and their shares will be automatically converted to securities designated for foreign investors if the foreign ownership room becomes available.

The conversion to securities designated for foreign investors will allow foreign investors to obtain all beneficial rights on the book-closing date. 

For greater efficiency, flexibility and convenience of foreign investors, SET established an alternative investment channel called Non-Voting Depository Receipt (NVDR) on the local board in 2000 as a special vehicle with the objectives of facilitating foreign investors to trade securities that may reach the foreign ownership limit while obtaining all financial benefits with the exception of voting rights.

In practice, foreign investors have chosen to trade NVDR units even though the foreign ownership limit of these securities has not yet been reached.

Since the establishment of NVDR, obstacles for foreign investors trading on SET have been significantly minimized. 

Foreign investors can easily buy and sell NVDR units on the local board, i.e., the domestic liquidity pool, with the same process and price as regular securities on the local board. Some features of NVDR can be summarized below: 

Beneficial rights

Foreign investors are entitled to obtain all financial returns, but do not have voting rights; 

Ease of trading

The trading of NVDR follows the general trading practice of securities designated for local investors. There is no difference in trading method. NVDR shares the same liquidity pool with securities designated for local investors; and, 

Flexibility of holding

Foreign investors are able to conveniently convert NVDR at anytime to securities designated for local investors or securities designated for foreigners if, in the case of the latter, the foreign ownership limit has not been reached.

In the event that the foreign ownership limit has been reached, foreign investors’ conversion request will be on queue, and their shares will be automatically converted to securities designated for foreign investors if the foreign ownership room becomes available.

Question: Do foreign investors have the same voting rights as domestic investors?

Answer: Yes.

Foreign investors are entitled to the same voting rights as domestic investors provided that foreign investors hold shares designated for foreign investors on the book -closing date.

Foreign investors who hold NVDR units or securities designated for local investors on the book – closing date will not be entitled to voting rights. As explained earlier, it is convenient to convert NVDR units or securities designated for local investors to those designated for foreign investors if the maximum foreign ownership limit has not been reached.

Unlike systems in some other countries in ASEAN, the Thai system gives certainty in advance on benefits to which foreign investors are entitled, depending on which types of securities they choose to hold.

Question: Are foreigners excluded from holding certain classes of share?

Answer: Foreigners can invest and are free to hold all three types of securities:

(1) Securities designated for local investors,

(2) NVDR units, and

(3) Securities designated for foreign investors.

However, foreigners will not be entitled to voting rights and financial benefits if they hold shares designated for local investors and will not be entitled to voting rights if they hold NVDR units.

Question: How may non-domestic investors trade securities in which the foreign ownership limit has been reached?

Answer: Foreign investors may purchase securities designated for foreign investors on the foreign board provided that there are offers in the market.

Alternatively, foreign investors can trade securities designated for local investors and NVDR units. Then, they are able to convert securities designated for local investors and NVDR at anytime to securities designated for foreigners if the foreign ownership room becomes available.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand

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Thailand Increases Speed Limits to Cut Road Crashes


By: Robby Ramakant

For years, Thailand has been notorious for having some of the world’s most dangerous traffic, with road deaths the highest in Southeast Asia. Some 59 people die per day on Thai roads, with only four other countries in the world more dangerous, all in Africa. Some 32 of every 100,000 Thais die on the highways. Across Western Europe, the…

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Thailand pushes cannabis as next cash crop : worldnews


It wont take much for it to boom. Thai stick was famous in the 70s

Import some seeds from Europe, Colorado, Cali

Outdoor grows. Plus they can cross their landrace that is native to the area and see what they get.

Not to mention, thailand was hindu- so it was big on hashish since ancient times. Even if weed is whatever, hash generally has a potency of 60-90% depending on quality.

Remember that when people talk about “how todays weed is so strong”.

Okay, but in the 70’s everyone worldwide was smoking hash

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Thailand 2020 Investment Applications at Over 480 Billion Baht (USD16 billion)


The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) said today that local and foreign investors had in 2020 filed a total of 1,717 applications for investment promotion, representing a combined investment value of 481.1 billion baht (USD16 billion), led by projects in the electric and electronics and the agriculture and food processing sectors, and a surge in the medical sector.

“The coronavirus outbreak represented both a challenge and an opportunity, and while the overall economy registered a slowdown in 2020, businesses that can continue to expand during the crisis, such as the medical sector, witnessed an increased number of investment applications,” Ms Duangjai Asawach, Secretary General of the BOI, told reporters.

“The number of projects and the investment value reflect the success of the investment promotion measures we took in the past year to answer the needs of the market, especially in the medical masks, hygiene products, and medical rubber gloves segments.”

Ms Duangjai Asawach, Secretary General of the BOI

Applications for projects in the target industries, sectors of strategic importance for the country’s economic development, amounted to 230.7 billion baht, or 48% of the total value of applications.

The top five sectors by value were:

  • 1) electrical appliances and electronics with 50.3 billion baht worth of applications;
  • 2) Agriculture and food processing with 41.1 billion baht;
  • 3) automotive and parts with 37.8 billion baht;
  • 4) Petrochemicals and Chemicals with 36 billion baht; and
  • 5) Biotechnology with 30 billion baht.

165% increase in the medical sector

The medical sector saw a noticeable increase of the value of applications which grew 165%

The medical sector saw a noticeable increase of the value of applications which grew 165% from 2019 to 22.3 billion baht as a result of specials incentives offered by the BOI to this industry in support of Thailand’s efforts to manage the Covid-19 crisis.

Investments in this sector came from both large companies and SMEs.

In regard to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), some 907 project applications were filed in 2020 worth a total investment value of 213.2 billion baht.

FDI led by Japan followed by China

The FDI were led by Japanese companies, which topped the ranking both in terms of the number of applications, 211 projects, and in terms of combined investment value, 75.9 billion baht.

Investments from China came in second with 31.5 billion baht investment value, followed by US with 24.6 billion baht investment value.

The Eastern Economic Corridor, or EEC area, which comprises the provinces of Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao, attracted 453 projects applications filed by both local and foreign investors, worth a combined investment value of 208.7 billion baht.

Renewal of the measures to encourage the public listing of BOI-promoted companies

At a board meeting chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha today, the BOI approved to renew the incentives offered to BOI-promoted companies to list on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) or the Market for Alternative Investment (MAI) in order to get access to new funding sources, while participating to strengthen Thailand’s capital market and economy.

The scheme grants companies going public an additional 100% corporate income tax (CIT) exemption on the value of their investment (excluding cost of land and working capital).

Projects which have already been granted BOI promotion and have started to generate income can still apply for these additional privileges and benefits on the condition they still have valid CIT exemption rights.

To be granted these additional privileges and benefits, companies must submit their applications by the end of December 2022. The companies must get listed on the SET or MAI before applying for promotion, but companies listed prior to the announcement of the measure are not eligible to this scheme.

Source : www.boi.go.th

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Thailand approves COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use


Bangkok (NNT) – The FDA Secretary General Paisal Dunkhum, said today the FDA had approved the registration of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in Italy.

The company nearly 10,000 pages of documents for registration in Thailand for approved use during the state of emergency since December 22, 2020. Efficacy, quality and safety of the vaccine was considered by the FDA.

He added that the first delivery of vaccine from AstraZeneca is due in February, consisting of 50,000 doses. The import license lasts one year.

When the vaccine arrives in Thailand, the Department of Medical Sciences will conduct a random inspection of the vaccine to determine its quality before providing it to people. More deliveries, numbering 150,000 doses of vaccine in total, will follow in March and April, he said.

As for the production of the COVID-19 vaccine by AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience, he said registration of a production facility in Thailand will allow it to become effective in Thailand in May.

50,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive next month

(NNT) – The first lot of 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca will arrive in Thailand early next month, after receiving approval from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Previously, the doses were set to arrive in May. They will first be given to medical personnel.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, chaired a meeting today (Jan 25) to discuss COVID-19 vaccine management. The meeting was attended by the ministry’s executives and five working bodies. The ministry previously set up subcommittees to take on various aspects.

Today, the meeting followed up on vaccine management and distribution, after the FDA recently approved the emergency use of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and produced abroad.

Initially, the recipients of the vaccine are required to install the Mor Prom application, to monitor side effects of the vaccine. The Public Health Minister said there may be side effects, but the possibility is very low. He urged the people not to be too worried because there are officials specifically assigned to take care of them.

The government will provide full support to ensure that the vaccine distribution covers all Thai citizens in a timely manner and without any disparity.

After receiving the first lot of COVID-19 vaccine doses on February 1, more doses will arrive in March and April, including the vaccine developed in China.

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Human trafficking cases in Thailand hit decade low due to COVID-19


BANGKOK, Jan 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Police in Thailand last year launched the lowest number of human trafficking investigations in a decade as coronavirus restrictions on businesses and borders hindered criminal networks, according to a soon-to-be released government report.

A total of 131 cases were filed last year – down from 288 in 2019 – showed the data, which was compiled to inform an annual U.S. report ranking countries on their anti-trafficking efforts.

Of those probes – the lowest annual number since 81 in 2010 – about 90% involved sexual exploitation while most of the others were related to forced labour, the report found.

“Curfews and temporary closures of … businesses reduced possible opportunities for sex and labour trafficking,” said the report, revealed exclusively by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“A greater number of migrant workers returned to their home countries awaiting the re-opening of workplaces, while border-control restrictions made it more difficult for transnational organised crime groups to commit human trafficking”,

it said.

Thailand has pointed to improved efforts to stop trafficking in recent years, under scrutiny from the United States and following criticism of its failure to tackle abuses in its lucrative seafood and textile sectors, as well as the sex trade.

Advocates and anti-trafficking experts questioned whether the drop in cases was solely due to less criminality, and said the fallout from the pandemic may have led to more labour exploitation among certain groups such as migrant workers.

“COVID-19 did not result in fewer human trafficking crimes, but it resulted in authorities doing less inspections,” said Papop Siamhan, a lawyer with expertise in human trafficking and director at the Human Rights and Development Foundation.

“For instance, last year fewer authorities were inspecting fishing vessels, so it’s not surprising that the numbers have lowered,” he added.

Yet police colonel Choosak Apaipakdi said authorities had targets to meet on anti-trafficking inspections, and that performing such visits had not been hindered by the pandemic.

“The Thai government is not staying idle,” said Choosak, superintendent at the government’s anti-trafficking division.

“The prime minister has ordered the Royal Thai Police to increase prevention of human trafficking,” he added.

The number of victims identified last year – 229 – was also the lowest in a decade but campaigners have questioned whether high totals in previous years were a result of officials misidentifying smuggled migrants as trafficking victims.

Unlike trafficking, which involves deception or control over another person for the purpose of exploitation, smuggling means entering another country illegally and is generally consensual.

Trafficking convictions fell last year to 141 – a 35% drop from 2019 – as fewer cases were sent to court, the data showed.

The report is due to be sent to U.S. officials by the end of January. Last year, Thailand was ranked as a middling Tier 2 in the U.S. Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which noted that the country was making significant efforts to combat the crime.

Thailand is home to an estimated 610,000 modern slaves – about one in 113 of its population of 69 million – according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index by human rights group Walk Free.

(Reporting by Nanchanok Wongsamuth @nanchanokw; Editing by Kieran Guilbert. Thomson Reuters Foundation, Visit http://news.trust.org)

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New wave of COVID-19 infections in Thailand shines spotlight on employment situation of foreign workers


BANGKOK: Pyi Some Aung has worked at the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon for 13 years. For the first time since he moved to Thailand from Myanmar, he is barred from leaving the premises.

His workplace became a major cluster of COVID-19 last month. The outbreak at the market has resulted in more than 3,000 infections so far, prompting authorities to close off the area and nearby apartments resided by thousands of foreign workers, mostly from Myanmar.

“The lockdown began on Dec 19. As soon as the announcement was made, military officers came here to bar every entrance and exit, stopping people from wandering outside. We can leave our rooms for a walk and live normally, but we’re not allowed to leave the market area,” said Pyi Some Aung. 

“I haven’t been able to work yet.”


People stand in lines to get COVID-19 tests in Samut Sakhon, South of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. Thailand reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest daily tally in a country that had largely brought the pandemic under control. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

Mass transmission of COVID-19 in Samut Sakhon marked a new wave of infections in Thailand. A number of businesses have been affected by the outbreak and so have thousands of foreign workers, including Pyi Some Aung, who has lost his main income for weeks. 

As COVID-19 continues to jeopardise business operators in Samut Sakhon, rights groups are concerned a number of migrants, particularly those who are not legally registered, could become jobless and be pressured to seek work elsewhere.

“Samut Sakhon took in workers when other areas in the country were on lockdown previously,” said Adisorn Kerdmongkol from Migrant Working Group – a coalition of local NGOs advocating labour rights and welfare.

“A number of migrants here are working illegally and living secretly. They have no health security. So, we’re worried the situation could reverse. With factories closed, migrants would return to the same condition, which is jobless. They’d have to work elsewhere and that could be out of control. If that happens, we could face a big problem,” he added.

Virus Outbreak Thailand

People stand in lines to get COVID-19 tests in Samut Sakhon, South of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Dec 20, 2020. (Photo: AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)

Last year, Thailand reported zero cases locally for several months. But the situation turned upside down after a 67-year-old Thai vendor at the Central Shrimp Market tested positive for the disease on Dec 17 despite no overseas travel records.

The Disease Control Department has so far reported more than 3,200 cases of COVID-19 in 44 provinces with links to the outbreak in Samut Sakhon. Its deputy director Thanarak Phaliphat said the employment situation of migrant workers is a cause for concern.

“If you ask whether we’re worried, I have to say we are. But in terms of what we can do, this is the responsibility of other governmental units. At the same time, it’s also the responsibility of the private sector, which has to understand and develop a policy of not employing these migrating workers,” he told CNA.

KEEPING MIGRANT WORKERS EMPLOYED COULD LIMIT COVID-19 TRANSMISSION: NGO

Samut Sakhon is a coastal province southwest of Bangkok. It is a hub of Thailand’s seafood industry and home to a large number of factories and foreign workers.

Based on data from the Department of Employment, some 240,000 migrants are employed in the province. However, according to Adisorn, an estimated 200,000 others are believed to be working there illegally and some have already lost their jobs as a result of the recent outbreak.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Thailand

A healthcare worker takes a nasal swab sample of a child for a COVID-19 test at a migrant community, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Samut Sakhon province, in Thailand, December 20, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

The temporary closure of the Central Shrimp Market means several businesses cannot operate. At the same time, Adisorn said, fear of inspection and arrest by the authorities have led some employers to lay off illegal foreign workers.

Pyi Some Aung said some migrants are worried about losing their jobs once the market reopens.

“Because the market isn’t open yet, nobody knows if they still have their jobs,” he told CNA. 

Some are concerned they may not get their jobs back, their employers may not hire them again, or they wouldn’t be able to send money home because they aren’t working.

To prevent mass labour movements and limit the risk of transmission, Adisorn from Migrant Working Group said the Thai government needs to keep as many migrants employed as possible.

“We have to find out how to delay unemployment as much as possible. In case it has to happen, there should be some financial compensation to enable t hem to stay on and look for jobs in the province without having to go move elsewhere,” Adisorn told CNA.

“Eventually, when they really can’t stay there anymore and have to move, their movement should be directed by the Ministry of Labour, which could find them new employers in other areas while ensuring safe movement.” 

On Dec 29, the cabinet granted a special approval for foreign workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to continue residing and working legally in Thailand until Feb 13, 2023 amid the spread of COVID-19. The proposal was put forth by the Ministry of Labour as part of the government’s efforts to control local transmission.

The target groups include Cambodian, Laotian and Myanmar nationals whose work permits have expired, undocumented foreign workers and their children aged no more than 18.

MASS TESTING KEY TO OVERALL EFFORT

Since the outbreak in Samut Sakhon, Thai health officials said they have drawn on Singapore’s experience to control the transmission, with some adjustments to suit the local context. Infected patients are separated from the Central Shrimp Market for treatment at field hospitals, as proactive testing continues in foreign communities.

Thailand seafood market COVID-19 testing

People queue to get tested for COVID-19 at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon on Dec 19, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Jack Taylor)  

According to Thanarak, those who are confined in the market area and nearby apartments are patients who have recovered and residents testing negative for COVID-19 who continue to be monitored.

“There is no other way than to carry out tests in the Myanmar communities as much as possible and to do it faster than before, and this will need to continue for a while,” he said.

“However, it may be difficult to test every migrant worker because there are so many of them,” he added. “So, the strategy is to carry out tests and separate the patients in order to stop the transmission. It’s likely a lot of tests will be carried out almost weekly for an unknown period of time.”

On Tuesday (Jan 12), Thailand reported 287 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case number to 10,834. So far, 6,732 patients have recovered and 67 have died.

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Thailand’s slow economic recovery | Thailand Business News


Thailand’s economic performance in the third quarter of 2020 showed promising signs of recovery amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The contraction in GDP fell to 6.4 per cent year-on-year, down from 12 per cent in the second quarter. Signs of recovery in key industries such as electronics and appliances, the automotive sector and plastics are bright spots.

The speed of economic recovery in Thailand has been slower than neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam and China, especially in terms of industrial and service output.

Part of the reason is the inadequacy of Thailand’s policies during lockdown, particularly its tax measures and special loan initiatives to help vulnerable firms maintain cash flow and reduce costs of production.

There was also no clear policy geared directly at retaining employment in industries such as tourism that were hit hard by COVID-19.

Tax measures meant to support firms were mostly limited to tax payment deferral for three months and an acceleration of tax refunds, whereas others such as Malaysia, China, South Korea and Japan offered tax cuts. South Korea allowed tax payment deferral for nine months; Japan offered it for almost a year.

Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam all offered wage subsidies to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help retain employees.

Thailand’s policy was limited to reducing the contribution rate to the Social Security Fund (SSF), extending the duration of contribution form submissions and providing special funds for employment training. Fortunately, workers registered with the SSF, independent labourers, vulnerable persons and low-income earners did receive financial assistance from the government, though payments were delayed.

Soft loans from the Central bank

The central bank offered 500 billion baht (US$16.7 billion) in soft loans as part of a 1.9 trillion baht (US$63.4 billion) budget (around 14 per cent of GDP) for providing remedies, stimulating the economy and enhancing production potential in several sectors.

The accessibility of these loans has been questioned — as of November 2020, only 25 per cent of them have been taken. Conditions regarding eligibility for borrowing, loan duration, speed of the loan approval process and surety conditions for the loans remain under debate.

After completely lifting its lockdown in July 2020, the government introduced a series of more targeted measures to stimulate the economy. For example, the central bank extended debt relief measures for SMEs that began in April 2020, but only for specific firms that cannot repay loans to financial institutions. These targeted measures will end on 30 June 2021.

Around 25 billion baht (US$835 million) has been allocated to support tourism and related industries. The ‘We Travel Together’ stimulus package launched in July 2020 and ending in April 2021 will see the government partly subsidise some tourist expenses including hotel accommodation, airfares and other tourist activities. Measures such as these will likely support economic recovery.

In October, the government offered an unconditional co-payment to 10 million Thai citizens to purchase day-to-day goods, excluding alcohol and tobacco, in the hope of stimulating private consumption. Under the scheme, the government subsidises half the cost of purchases with a maximum daily co-payment of 150 baht (US$5) per day, totalling 3000 baht (US$100) per person, for up to three months.

The scheme was extremely popular, and in December Cabinet expanded it to cover another 5 million people and raised the total subsidy to 3500 baht (US$117) per person. The original 10 million people also received an additional 500 baht (US$17) each.

Without any income conditions, equal access to the scheme was problematic and many applicants complained about losing their opportunity to benefit from the scheme. To what extent the scheme will stimulate consumption is yet to be seen since the subsidies last up to three months. Rather than stimulating the economy as expected, the scheme may just be palliative.

Although a series of measures have been implemented, some key aspects of Thailand’s economic performance look grim.

Thailand needs more employment stimulus policies

The number of unemployed persons jumped to more than 800,000 in October 2020 from only 370,000 in 2019, while the share of private investment in GDP in the third quarter of 2020 fell to its lowest level (14 per cent) since 2003. Household debt reached 83.8 per cent of GDP in October, the highest level in 18 years.

To resolve these challenges, Thailand needs more employment stimulus policies, a proper debt-restructuring program and medium to long-term growth stimulus measures. The Thai government has prepared a 400 billion baht (US$13.3 billion) budget to enhance production potential and competitiveness in several sectors. But the draft budget accounted for only 17 per cent of this figure and listed only three industries: agriculture, tourism and textiles. Projects concerning the digital economy, the ‘green’ economy and logistics are inadequate.

In pushing these projects ahead, the Thai government needs to further develop the country’s human capital in the current climate of digital transformation.

Policy overlap and coordination failures across institutions need to be resolved. Infrastructure including e-governance, investment in 5G, and affordable and reliable broadband in remote areas should be prioritised. The proper handling of the pandemic, including testing, tracing and vaccine handling, and the country’s recent political challenges are also key in moving the economy forward in 2021.

Author: Juthathip Jongwanich, Thammasat University

Juthathip Jongwanich is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics and the International Competitiveness Research Cluster, Thammasat University.

This article is part of an EAF special feature series on 2020 in review and the year ahead.

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Thailand strengthens COVID-19 control measures


According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) latest update regarding the Royal Thai Government’s announcement on the strengthened COVID-19 control measures to contain local transmission, 28 provinces are now declared as “highly controlled areas”.

Effective from 4 January, 2021, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has declared 28 provinces as “highly controlled areas” following a surge in community transmission.

These include the capital Bangkok and (region by region) 

Central: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri and Suphan Buri; 

West: Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan Ratchaburi, and Tak; 

East: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, Rayong, Sa Kaeo and Trat, and 

South: Chumphon and Ranong.

The strengthened restrictions, which are imposed across the highly controlled areas, are:

  • Closure of educational institutions at all levels. Exceptions for the utilisation of educational areas are made for e-learning activities, emergency shelters, or government activities.
  • Ban on any gatherings that would pose a risk of disease transmission; such as, meetings, seminars, banquets, or charity food donations (except ones organised by government agencies).
  • Closure of at-risk venues, including entertainment businesses of all types; such as, pubs, bars, or karaoke.
  • Limit the operating hours of businesses:
  • Food outlets and restaurants must apply social distancing rules or consider providing only delivery or takeaway services;
    • Alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed at food outlets or restaurants, though takeaway is allowed;
    • Shopping malls, department stores, community malls, convention centres or exhibition halls, convenience marts, supermarkets or similar services can open per usual operating hours but must apply strict disease control measures.
  • The Bangkok governor and provincial governors to impose specific disease control measures according to the level of risk.
  • The public are encouraged to cancel or postpone interprovincial travel at this time, or must undergo strict screening measures, which may cause inconvenience.
  • The private-sector organisations are encouraged to allow work from home options.

In addition, the CCSA has classified 11 provinces as the “controlled areas”; namely (region by region), 

Central: Chai Nat, Nakhon Sawan, Phetchabun and Uthai Thani;

North: Kamphaeng Phet and Sukhothai;

Northeast: Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, and Nakhon Ratchasima, and 

South: Phang Nga and Surat Thani.

The remaining 38 provinces are classified as areas under high surveillance.

All provinces in the controlled areas and areas under high surveillance are to impose specific COVID-19 control measures depending on the level of risk as part of the nationwide efforts.

The CCSA has advised the public to take DMHTT precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, and T – Thai Chana contact tracing application.

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Thailand Saw $1.7 billion Applications in Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Investments in 2020, BOI Says


In the first nine months of 2020, local and international companies applied to invest as much as $1.7 billion in Thailand in more than 300 projects in the sectors listed as “BCG”, or Bio-Circular-Green economic activities focused on environmental protection and sustainability, according to data collected by the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI).

This lifted the total value of BCG applications since the start of 2018 to $6.7 billion, reinforcing Thailand’s position as a Bio-Circular-Green hotspot, the BOI said.

The BCG model, as defined by the Thai Government, encompasses industries that allow inclusive, sustainable growth while reducing waste, pollution and dependence on finite resources.

Thailand is a major agricultural producer, tourism destination and medical hub and its BCG sector comprises many of the country’s important industries: agriculture and food; bioenergy, biomaterials and biochemicals; medical and wellness; and tourism and the creative economy.

Currently, those sectors have a combined economic value of $113 billion, according to Thailand’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation.

By 2025, the government aims to increase that value by 30 percent to $147 billion, making BCG industries equivalent to 25 percent of the national gross domestic product, the ministry says.

The slew of tax breaks offered to companies developing green and sustainable industries have lured investors ranging from large multinationals to local and foreign startups. Non-tax incentives include renewable smart visas allowing international talent and investors in key sectors to work and stay in Thailand for up to four years. The BOI also supports companies by helping establish industrial linkage, sourcing of local suppliers and business matching.

French energy major Total and Dutch biochemical giant Corbion

Among global companies betting on the country’s green potential are French energy major Total and Dutch biochemical giant Corbion, which in 2017 teamed up to build a factory in Thailand that uses responsibly sourced, locally-grown cane sugar to manufacture polylactic acid, or PLA, a 100 percent renewable and biodegradable bioplastic that can be used to replace polystyrene and other oil-based polymers while having a 75 percent smaller carbon footprint.

The joint venture, Total Corbion PLA, has built its plant at Rayong in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) adjacent to a longer-established factory operated by Corbion that makes lactic acid, on which PLA is based. Between them, the two partners have invested some $250 million in Rayong and within two years will have increased that investment to $500 million as the PLA plant increases production from 75,000 to 100,000 tonnes annually to address the growing demand, company executives say.

“We have the best technology in the world for PLA here in Thailand,” says Sander van der Linden, Corbion’s country manager and site director at Rayong.

“We get great support from the Thai government, which is committed to developing the bio-based economy and agriculture sector and for that reason it is a very good environment for us to be in.”

Sander van der Linden, Corbion’s country manager and site director at Rayong.

Simon Goldney, Total Corbion’s plant director, points to numerous reasons why Total and Corbion chose to invest in Thailand. One obvious advantage is that Thailand is the world’s second biggest supplier of sugar, the raw material for PLA. Other attractions include good port infrastructure, corporate income tax breaks and import duty exemptions, and the quality of the workforce.

Japanese biotech startup Spiber Inc

Japanese biotech startup Spiber Inc also had the confidence to choose Thailand’s EEC for its first factory outside Japan.

The $100 million Thailand factory, due to begin production in 2021, will be the world’s largest structural protein fermentation facility, producing 700 tonnes a year. It will use sugar sourced in Thailand and will serve as a base for research and development.

Spiber has created an international buzz by pioneering and becoming the global market leader in environmentally friendly synthetic spider silk, replicating spider silk DNA using brewed protein created from micro-organisms fed with sugar.

The material is stronger than steel, lighter than aluminum and more flexible than carbon fiber and can be used in the fashion industry as a fiber, or in construction, the auto industry and the manufacture of medical devices.

Spiber Managing Director Morita Keisuke says his company originally considered other possible locations in Asia and the Americas. However, it was won over to Thailand not only by the availability of sugar, but also the incentives, reliable infrastructure, good access to, and relationship with, Japan and strong supply chains in industries of interest to Spiber, such as clothes and automotive, and again the Thai workforce.

“We can find people with high skills and good personalities who empathize with our vision,” Keisuke said in an interview.

Another crucial activity, which while not included in BCG, is equally important in protecting the environment, is the development of electric vehicles.

Energy Absolute Pcl

In that sector, a Thai company that stands out is Energy Absolute Pcl, Thailand’s number two publicly-listed electricity supplier with a market value of $5.6 billion. The company which started in the renewable energy sector, a part of BCG, with investments in wind and solar farms, is now expanding into the development of electric vehicles and their related ecosystem.

The company has become a key figure in Thailand’s efforts to steer its highly successful automobile manufacturing industry – the world’s 11th largest – beyond the internal combustion engine era into the design and production of electric vehicles.

Energy Absolute has invested in the production of five-seat electric cars, electric buses, and electric boats, as well as the lithium-ion batteries and charging stations that will help the EV market to expand. The first phase of Energy Absolute’s $100 million lithium-ion battery factory – the first in Southeast Asia – is nearing completion, and 500 EV charging stations have sprung up in readiness.

To further boost the EV investment trend, the BOI announced in November 2020 a new set of promotion measures. The package replaced and expanded the EV promotion policy first announced by the BOI in 2017, that led to investment in both hybrid and fully electric vehicles by several global car makers and startups.

“I hope my success will be a catalyst and bring another wave of investment,” Energy Absolute founder and Chief Executive Officer Somphote Ahunai said in an interview. “The BOI has a very transparent and fair process for everyone and supports foreign investors. We welcome competition.”

For more information, please contact:
Thailand Board of Investment
Tel. +66 (0) 2553 8111
Website: www.boi.go.th
Youtube: Think Asia, Invest Thailand



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