Archive for the ‘Thai trade’ Category

Thai Land Transport Dept. Has Started To Put Partititions In Taxis As Protection From Covid

September 24, 2021

The Department of Land Transport has started installing acrylic partitions inside taxis to prevent the spread of droplets during the Covid-19 pandemic under a pilot program to install this device in 3,000 taxis by October.
The minister of transport, Saksayam Chidchob, presided over Thursday’s ceremony to inaugurate the first group of taxis equipped with partitions under the ministry’s new-normal initiative to boost public safety and confidence in hiring passenger vehicles.
Among the attendees were Department of Land Transport director-general Jirut Wisanjit, SCG Chemicals co-president Thanawong Areeratchakul, senior officials from the ministry, executives from the company, and taxi drivers.
According to Saksayam, all businesses had to adapt in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The government has assigned the Transport Ministry the task of evaluating measures to prevent the spread of the virus in public transportation and boost the income of taxi operators and drivers.
A pilot project has been launched by the department to install partitions inside taxis to prevent droplets from spreading during conversations, coughing, and sniffing, announced the minister, adding 3,000 taxis have joined the project.
SCG Chemicals Co. designed the acrylic partitions. It was easy to install them in medium-sized and large vehicles, and they wouldn’t interfere with visibility or other safety features.
The installation of the partitions began on Sept 16 and all 3,000 taxis participating in the program will have them by October, he said.
Taxis with partitions will display a sign on the windshield to let passengers know. The QR Codes on the partitions of all participating taxis will allow passengers to rate their experiences, he said.

Provincial Authorities Want Thai Police To Investigate Deaths Of Birds

September 23, 2021

Phatthalung authorities have requested help from the Department of Special Investigation to investigate the death of birds. These were no ordinary birds though; they were swiftlets, the birds that produce the saliva that make birds’ nests, prized as a health delicacy. And it wasn’t a few birds, it was over a million birds found dead in caves where Siamnest company has the authority to collect their birds’ nests.
And the financial loss of these birds and the birds’ nests they produce has been estimated at about 5 billion baht.
The company has permission to access 107 caves in Phatthalung’s seven islands and they sent their collection teams to gather the birds’ nests between September 9 to September 17. When they arrived at the last cave, they discovered the remains of more than 1 million birds instead of the nests they were tasked with collecting.
The team found the remains of a fire and various trash strewn about including shoes and plastic bottles. After Siamnest involved the Phatthalung authorities, the Royal Thai Police joined the investigation of the mass death of the swiftlet birds.
Unlike most birds that make nests out of twigs or similar materials, swiftlets make theirs completely out of their unique saliva which solidifies to form the nest. These saliva nests are considered a delicacy, especially in Asian regions, for it’s believed healing powers. Birds’ nest soup is often made by steaming and soaking the saliva nests.
The nests are said to help with kidney health, phlegm reduction and are desired as an aphrodisiac as well. Harvesting companies have become big businesses due to the high price the unique birds’ nest can fetch, with companies like Siamnest getting exclusive access to areas of the swiftlet’s nest or even creating artificial sanctuaries for swiftlets to nest.
Of note, disgraced police officer Pol Col Thitisan “Jo Ferrari” Utthanaphon, whose shocking wealth was revealed upon his arrest for suffocating a suspect in custody, was said to have made part of his fortune by trading birds’ nests.

Thai Crime: A Thai Som Tam Vendor Arrested For Possessing 4 Million Speed Pills In Nakhon Phanom

September 4, 2021

In Nakhon Pathom, a 31-year-old woman was arrested with over 4 million speed pills. She says she turned to drug smuggling to feed her family.
In her pickup truck, border patrol police found 10 fertilizer sacks containing 4,622,000 speed pills during a search of a road in tambon Saenphan in That Phanom.
The suspect stated that she made her living selling som tam (spicy papaya salad) and doing day labor
Sippanan Sornkhunkaew, commander of the 23rd Border Patrol Police Unit, said she was struggling to care for her two sons, ages 14 and 3. Her husband served eight years in prison for drug charges.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was unable to support her family and decided to deliver drugs to make money. Last month, she made her first delivery and received 200,000 baht.
In the recent past, Pol Col Sippanan was offered 400,000 baht by a drug gang member to pick up 4.6 million speed pills smuggled from Laos.
Investigators plan to arrest others involved in the case as well.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 20 million speed pills have been seized in Nakhon Phanom.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Laos is becoming an increasingly important transit country for methamphetamine and related chemicals. Due to pandemic restrictions, illicit producers are now using Laos as a transit country to Thailand instead of the usual route from Myanmar to northern Thailand.
Due to this, methamphetamine and crystal meth have been seized more frequently at the Thai-Lao border. A total of 5.7 tonnes of crystal meth were seized in Thailand’s northeastern provinces in 2018, up from just 266kg in 2019.

Note: Nakhon Phanom is located in the Northeastern part of Thailand. Nakhon Pathom is basically a suburb of Bangkok and is a western suburb.

Thai Bits: New Thai Government Policies Regarding COVID-19 and Land Ownership

June 22, 2021

Phuket COVID-19 Plan Will Be Applied To Other Parts of Thailand

Other areas are looking at ways to open as well, especially as the Phuket sandbox plan remains on track to open on July 1 to vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries. CCSA members approved in principle opening the sealed routes on three islands — Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao — to join the reopening plan on July 15, with tourists spending one week in Phuket before coming directly to Samui.
Samui visitors who fly to the island will have to follow additional restrictions: they must stay at alternative local quarantine hotels and spend three days on the hotel premises before being allowed to travel on sealed routes on Samui between days 4 and 7. From days 8 to 14, they can visit Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.
Recently, eight major tourism associations proposed a plan that would allow vaccinated visitors to travel across Chon Buri’s two mainland districts, Bang Lamung and Sattahip, with safeguards and restrictions on Aug 1, 2021.
The Prime Minister announced in mid-October that vaccinated foreign tourists could return to the country. However, only provinces with a vaccination rate of 70% in the general population and 100% in the service industry would be considered.

There Could Be New Land Ownership Policy Soon

A recent leak of plans to change land ownership in Thailand may only be temporary while the economy is suffering from the pandemic, and is still under consideration. According to one proposal, condo owners could own between 70 percent and 80 percent of their units. A maximum of 49 percent of foreign owners will be allowed to vote at owners’ meetings.
A second proposal allows foreigners to buy homes worth between 10-15 million baht and restricts foreign ownership in housing developments to 40 percent. There is also the possibility of changing the term of the land lease from 30 to 50 years, with an option to extend for another 40 years.
Companies that are more than 49 percent owned by foreigners are not allowed to purchase or own land unless a Foreign Business Licence has been granted by the Board of Investment or they are exempt under a treaty such as the treaty of amity for Americans. The Treaty of Amity allows Americans to own their own businesses outright, as well as to own property.
BOI companies that purchase land have one year after the promoted business ends to sell or dispose of the land. Thai citizens may purchase and own land through limited companies that are majority-owned by Thai citizens, however, the government does require that these companies be actively trading businesses with legitimate investors rather than shell companies created for the sole purpose of buying land.

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The Thai Private Sector Is Assured By The Thai PM That All Foreigners Will Get Vaccines

April 29, 2021

According to Sanan Angubolkul, the new chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), after he had a meeting with the Thai PM on April 28th, 2021, about 2,000 Thai companies will finance the procurement of about one million doses of vaccine.
Additionally, according to Sanan, the private sector wants to assist the public sector by speeding up alternative sources of vaccines. They want to effectively manage the vaccine distribution by providing support and time to the Thai public sector. Their goal is to ensure that it is thorough and efficient.
After the partnership between the Thai private sector and the Thai government to provide vaccines to 5 million people by the end of this year, Sanan believes the private sector is optimistic about the country reopening by early next year.
Sanan said Health Minister Anutin Charnovirakul and the Thai Prime Minister were able to convince the Joint Meeting that Expats in Thailand and foreign workers will be able to get vaccinated.
The new TCC chairman says the vaccinations for 50 million people can boost confidence in the private sector that Thailand is ready to reopen by early next year and provide herd immunity.
It is also expected that Phuket will reopen on July 1st, 2021 for foreigners who have been vaccinated.
FTI said the meeting between both business groups and the prime minister marked the beginning of a more efficient vaccine distribution plan
During the meeting with Gen Prayut, FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree said that the government will remove regulations that might slow down distribution by the private sector and facilitate its efforts.
the Thai PM told FTI that the government will never ignore ideas and help offered by businessmen.
Thailand’s business sector has urged the state to speed up its Covid-19 vaccination program after the state program was criticized for moving at a snail’s pace at a time when it needs to build herd immunity against the disease.
Thailand’s private sector and the Thai Bankers’ Association are proposing the government offer five-million-baht loans to small and medium-sized enterprises that are currently experiencing a serious liquidation due to Covid-19.
The sandbox will initially be implemented for retail businesses and later expand to cover automotive parts and the electrical appliance industry.

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The Thai SEC Thinking About Regulations For Cryptocurrency and Cryptocurrency Investors

April 6, 2021

Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is concerned with a six-fold increase in cryptocurrency trading since November.
SEC announced on April 1st that people who deal with cryptocurrency must attain a certification or have experience or pass a test. The SEC did not specify a date by which these requirements will be necessary and it decided it will not prevent local exchanges from having clients who do not meet the minimum income levels. More regulations might drive Thais to unregulated platforms abroad.
Atichanan, a former Goldman Sachs employee who co-founded Bitkub believes Thai regulators realize that they will not be able to stop the tide of virtual currency. He believes that Bitkub has about 90 percent of domestic exchange trading and has about 300,000 customers.
The crypto exchanges in Thailand see lower volumes than those in countries like South Korea and the United States. However, the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has risen to all-time highs and more Thais have joined the exchanges as a result.
At Bitkub, they had a daily turnover of 4.2 billion baht in February, the Thai SEC says. There were 18 billion baht in November, as the SEC has kept track of cryptocurrency since November 2021. Statistics from Bitkub show a 40% increase from January. Looking at turnover on March 30, Bitkub ranked 124th among more than 300 exchanges as monitored by CoinMarketCorp.
Young investors are the ones driving the crypto market in Thailand during the pandemic. With the large boom came some hiccups at local Thai exchanges including Bitkub.
The increased activity at the crypto markets has led the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission to scrutinize cryptocurrencies more closely. Bitkub was asked by the Thai SEC to submit a plan to fix problems that have caused trading outages. Thailand’s regulator tried to restrict clients’ eligibility for crypto exchanges a month later, requiring that a customer’s income should be at least 1 million baht in order to trade. On April 1st, 2021, the SEC decided not to have the income requirement, but it still wants customers to know something about cryptocurrency.
The Thai SEC secretary-general, Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, believes the vast majority of Thai crypto participants are young and enthusiastic about decentralization and new technology. These participants should realize that any financial innovation has the potential to cause damage to the financial system and the economy.
88 years ago, the US federal government created Executive Order 6102 which made private ownership of gold illegal.
Today, on April 5th, is Satoshi Nakamoto’s birthday. He is the creator of Bitcoin. It is a cryptocurrency where if you put in American currency terms, satoshi is the cents and Bitcoin is the dollars. SO far, Bitcoin has been the most valuable cryptocurrency. His creation of Bitcoin is a game-changer in the currency exchange systems, digital or analog.
In the future, his birthday could be a holiday for the world.

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Thai Bits: Certain People Still Have 14-Day Quarantine in Thailand, New FTA Changes What Goods Have Tariffs

April 5, 2021

People From Certain Countries Will Still Have To Quarantine For 14 Days in Thailand

People who have received the vaccine in Thailand have reduced the quarantine to 7 days, while those who have not received the vaccine or who come from countries with COVID-19 will be quarantined for 14 days. Ghana, Tanzania, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Rwanda, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa are countries that are considered to have the pandemic variant by the Thai government.

New FTA to exempt 29,000 items from export duties

More than 29,000 Thai export items will be eligible for a tariff waiver starting January 1, 2021, as part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement. There are 15 nations in Asia-Pacific, including Thailand, that signed the agreement, and it needs ratification by at least nine countries before it can go into effect. As a result, 40,000 items will see duty reductions, and 29,000 items will have zero tariffs. A free trade agreement ratified by the Thai parliament will give Thai investors the right to own 70-80% shares in certain businesses, such as construction abroad.