Teams find trade interest in Africa

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THAILAND HAS asked Kenya to allow Thai fishermen to ply its coastal waters, while Thailand has been urged to invest more in Kenya to help develop many of that country’s industries.

After leading Thai delegations on missions to Kenya and Mozambique from July 10-16, Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, said Thailand could form closer cooperation with the two African nations in many sectors.

“Thailand and Kenya agreed to set up a joint committee on trade and investment to support cooperation between the two nations,” she said, adding that Thailand would like to export more rice to that country.

Primarily, however, Thailand has asked Kenya to allow the Thai Overseas Fisheries Association to negotiate on behalf of the Thai fishery industry for permission to ply Kenya’s coastal areas, as they are rich in seafood resources.

Fishery products that Thailand is highly interested in importing from Kenya are lobster, fish, crayfish and crab.

Under the “Kenya Vision 2030” scheme, the African country’s government has urged Thai investors to expand their interests there, particularly in the agricultural sector and crop processing. Nairobi aims to increase the country’s competitiveness in agro-industry and other sectors in order to become a middle-income nation.

Kenya also would like to learn from Thailand’s experience in agriculture and agro-industry, tourism, and infrastructure development.

Agro-industries in which there is high potential for Thai investors in Kenya are maize, sugar cane, feed meal and fertiliser.

To celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Thailand will hold a trade fair in Kenya in 2017. The Thai government has also encouraged Kenyan enterprises to visit the “Thailand Tractors and Agricultural Machinery Show” from December 4-13 this year, and the “Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair” from September 7-11.

Meanwhile, Mozambique has shown strong interest in importing 300,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand. The terms of payment still need to be discussed, while Thailand would like to invest in various sectors in Mozambique. Potential sectors for Thai investors are agriculture, fishery, energy, mining, construction, and tourism.

After the two countries’ first Joint Trade Commission, Thailand has encouraged Mozambique to import many products from the Kingdom, including rice, processed food, cosmetics, medicines, supplements, fertiliser and agricultural equipment.

Thai private enterprises from four key industries – food, energy, utilities and tourism – will also visit the “Maputo International Fair” from August 28 to September 4.

The World Bank expects overall African gross domestic product to grow by 3.3 per cent this year. The continent has a combined population of 1.1 billion, 14.72 per cent of the global total.

Thailand to implement new trade tactic

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THAILAND will adjust its international trade policy by conducting strategic partnerships with priority countries that deepen cooperation in key sectors – focusing on trade, investment, tourism, and infrastructure, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said yesterday.

After chairing a meeting with officials from the Commerce Ministry, Somkid said that Thailand needed to deepen cooperation with key trade partners by focusing on strategic partnerships after facing delays and other obstructions with its ongoing free-trade-agreement negotiations.

The priority countries that Thailand aims to forge strategic partnerships with are India, China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Under the move, Thailand aims to sign agreements with partner countries related to certain sectors that develop the sectors for both sides.

Somkid said that Thailand and China could sign a partnership for digital and hi-tech industries, Thailand and India could ink q deal for services, professional services, and IT and the Kingdom and Myanmar could partner on infrastructure development.

“The strategic partnerships will become a new platform for trade-negotiation strategies for the country as it could in the short run focus on key industries, while Thailand will continue to conduct [negotiations for] free-trade agreements parallel to it as the FTAs are quite complicated and take a longer time,” Somkid said.

He said the country adjusting its international trade policy would service its industry 4.0 model which focused on hi-technology industries and was designed to promote trade growth with partner countries.

Somkid also encouraged the Commerce Ministry’s Business Development Department and the Intellectual Property Department to support new entrepreneurs and startup enterprises while commercialising intellectual property to help drive business growth.

With lingering concerns about the health of the domestic economy, the ministry has been ordered to maintain its cost-of-living controls.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the ministry planned to follow up bilateral negotiations with Japan, India, Iran, and Oman.

To help promote trade growth, the ministry will focus its negotiation on trying to solve non-tariff barriers.

Thai-Myanmar JTC to meet on raising 2-way trade

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THAILAND and Myanmar aim to increase bilateral trade to between US$10 billion and $12 billion next year, from $7.74 billion in 2015, under closer cooperation through the Joint Trade Commission (JTC) and Asean integration.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said yesterday that the two neighbouring countries would strengthen ties in trade, investment and other forms of cooperation.

The proposals for enhanced cooperation will be discussed during the seventh meeting of the JTC, to be held in Nay Pyi Taw for two days beginning tomorrow. Apiradi will lead the Thai delegation, while Myanmar’s trade minister will chair the meeting.

The trade goal was set after the recent meeting between Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

At the JTC meeting, the ministers will discuss cooperation on Mae Sot-Myawaddy border trade and the setting up of a CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) Business Council led by the private sector to solve trade-related problems.

Under the JTC, Thailand and Myanmar will also support the use of local currencies in special economic zones (SEZs) and other areas, while seeking ways to facilitate investment from both countries.

Moreover, Thailand will encourage a bilateral agreement on Thailand-Myanmar transport to facilitate logistics growth between the two sides, as well as support the upgrading of border checkpoints.

The JTC will also discuss tourism promotion, transportation for two countries people, support for the Dawei SEZ project, job creation for Myanmar nationals, and promoting Thai and Myanmar woven fabrics.

According to Commerce Ministry data, Myanmar is Thailand’s eight-largest trading partner in Asean, and its 15th-largest globally.

During the past five years, bilateral trade has been worth $7.37 billion on average. In 2015, trade was valued $7.74 billion (Bt272 billion), with exports from Thailand worth $4.17 billion. Border trade accounted for 80 per cent or $6.23 billion.

Meanwhile, the government will also aim to strengthen trade with Kenya and Mozambique during a mission by Commerce Ministry permanent secretary Chutima Bunyapraphasara to the two African nations from July 9 to 18.

Chutima said she would lead Thai delegations for the first senior official Thailand-Mozambique JTC in Maputo on July 14. During the meeting, the two nations will discuss the purchase of rice by Mozambique from the Thai government.

Thailand will also discuss cooperation in the jewellery industry, fishery concessions, and financial issues for promoting economic cooperation and trade in agriculture, tourism and energy.

Chutima said Mozambique could be a good source of raw materials for Thailand’s jewellery industry, while Thailand could supply many products to Mozambique. These included food and processed agricultural goods, seasoning, medicines and supplements, cosmetics, and agricultural machinery.

Moreover, Thai investors could help Mozambique develop its infrastructure and utilities system. Other potential investments for Thailand are in fishery and fish farming, fertiliser, furniture and processed wood, construction, and alternative energy.

HK Council to bring Chinese investors interested in Thai food processing

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THE HONG KONG Trade Development Council (HKTDC) plans, for the first time, to bring investors from China to meet with food processing companies in Thailand to boost investment as part of the Belt and Road initiative.

Raymond Yip, deputy executive director of HKTDC said it would bring 20 companies from Fujian province in China to meet 100-200 food-processing and agricultural companies in Thailand in October this year.

He said it would be the first time that HKTCD and the private sector in China would be joining forces for trade and investment overseas. This is a joint project of the “In Style Hong Kong” campaign and China’s Belt and Road initiative created to expand business cooperation between East and West, including Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

“Twenty companies in Fujian are interested in buying food from Thailand. We expect to invite 100-200 companies in Thailand for the talks,” he said.

He added that HKTDC also planned to organise a similar event in Jiangsu province. Hong Kong and China are working on the second project.

According to Raymond, Hong Kong is set to celebrate the first year of the Asean Economic Community. In Thailand, it will organise a large-scale signature event to promote mutual cooperation and tap the growth in this dynamic region, and opportunities in Asia as a whole.

The event will include a services symposium, discussing a range of important issues such as enhancing logistics competitiveness, access to finance, marketing capability, successful selling to China, and others. There will also be a series of citywide promotions to engage Thai consumers.

He added that Thailand is the second-largest economy in Asean, and was ranked second among emerging economies in Southeast Asia to do business in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2016 Report. In 2015, Thailand was Hong Kong’s third-largest export market within Asean, accounting for 18.1 per cent of total share in US$6.29 billion.

Thailand is a key logistics hub for multinationals setting up production bases and sales networks in Greater Mekong Region well-developed infrastructure.

Commerce Ministry targets service-export growth

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THE COMMERCE Ministry has responded to the exports slowdown by strengthening its plan to promote service exports, in particular healthcare and wellness items, by adopting the South Korean model for their promotion.

Chantira Jimreivat Vivatrat, deputy director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, said the department would promote businesses such as spas, hospitals and cosmetic surgery as it foresees a good opportunity to raise related revenues.

She said Thailand could be promoted as a healthcare and wellness service centre, as those businesses have been well accepted by foreigners.

According to the Commerce Ministry, exports for the service sector are worth US$53 billion (Bt1.9 trillion) a year. The government expects that export revenues from the service sector will grow beyond $55 billion this year.

Under the service-business promotion plan, the department will focus on developed markets and specific target groups such as the elderly and younger people who are greatly concerned about health and beauty.

Lalida Jivanuntapravat, director of the department’s Service Trade and Logistics Office, said that on a visit to South Korea to learn about its cosmetics industry, people there suggested Thailand could become a centre for healthcare and beauty in Asean. The South Korean government foresees Thailand as having good potential to produce goods and services to serve the beauty industry, Lalida said.

She said that to promote the growth of the sector, the department would soon invite traders and buyers from overseas for a field trip to Thai plants and a trade fair related to beauty and healthcare.

She said the department would also create a story for each product as a strategy to increase their values.

Manila pushes Mindanao sea links with neighbouring countries

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


MANILA – The Philippine National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) is pushing for the development of sea linkages between ports in Mindanao and three neighbouring Asean countries to boost regional trade.

In a speech at the second Mindanao Shipping Conference last Wednesday, Socioeconomic Planning secretary Emmanuel F Esguerra said that since Mindanao played a critical role in theAsean Economic Community, the following commercial routes should be established or improved.

They are: Davao and General Santos to Bitung and Manado in Indonesia; Tawi-Tawi and Tarakan, Indonesia; Zamboanga and Muara in Brunei; and Zamboanga and Sandakan in Malaysia.

Esguerra, who is NEDA’s director-general, said there were still |concerns on Mindanao’s sea transport sector that needed to be addressed.

Among the issues included the seaports’ limited capacity in terms of berthing structures, transit/cargo shed areas for non-containerised cargo, container yards for containerised cargo and passenger terminal buildings.

Esguerra said there was also a need to slash local cargo rates since prevailing rates in Mindanao were more expensive than foreign cargo rates. The NEDA chief said the government was ramping up infrastructure development to support economic growth across the country.

Major projects

“The growth-enhanced fiscal space has allowed major investments in infrastructure, with spending on public infrastructure more than tripling,” he said.

“The bulk of investments were slated for transportation, covering 43 per cent of total infrastructure investments from 2013 to 2016 and beyond, which was estimated to reach more than 7 trillion pesos (Bt5.2 trillion).

“This should be complemented by private investments in public infrastructure amounting to about 1.5 trillion pesos based on the status of PPP [public-private partnership] projects as of April.”

The NEDA chief was also bullish about the planned implementation of the three-year rolling infrastructure programme [Trip] starting |July.

Trip for the period 2017 to 2019 is aimed at “[meeting] investment targets for public infrastructure” while “[promoting] the optimal use of public resources for infrastructure development by assuring fund allocation for well-developed and readily-implementable projects”, NEDA said earlier.

“The multi-year rolling programme for infrastructure would ensure that once an infrastructure programme has been planned and it is rolled out, it is going to continue to receive funding from the government.

“This was one of our efforts to synchronise and tighten the link between the programming and budgeting functions of the government for infrastructure projects and programmes,” Esguerra had said.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, “the policy of dispersing the investment/infrastructure spending toward growth regions in the Visayas and Mindanao (such as central Visayas and northern Mindanao) was pursued [under Trip] to provide the physical infrastructure support for the promotion and development of business and industries”.

Myanmar, Poland trade ties to get a big boost

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


GIVEN the improved political climate and growing opportunities under its new civilian government,

Myanmar is now on Poland’s radar, with high expectations for improving bilateral trade and investment.

The Polish Chamber of Commerce organised its first-ever business mission to Myanmar last week. Twelve Polish businesspeople participated.

Marek Kloczko, vice president of the chamber and leader of the mission, said in an exclusive interview that he foresaw the entry of Polish businesses in Myanmar in the near future. Myanmar has not received any Polish investment yet, according to its Directorate of Investment and Company Registration.

“Bilateral trade is at a very low level,” Kloczko said. “We are seriously taking into account the potential of Myanmar in Poland. So we need to achieve improvement and we can do it very quickly. Their [Polish] knowledge about Myanmar is very low. However, there are two Polish companies registered in Myanmar now. But it is only the beginning of a long journey.

“I think the potential is huge. The only question is [how] to bring people together and to create proper relations between the partners. There are a lot of possibilities in many industries such as agriculture, machinery, LNG, [and] chemical industry.”

Kloczko said the key challenges for Polish companies would be to acquire proper knowledge and to find appropriate partners.

“Polish people have very low general knowledge about Myanmar. We only know that there is a change in the economy here. [The] Myanmar economy is doing very well, growing rapidly. So we came here to see how it looks, and what [the] opportunities are.

“Polish companies taking part in this mission are active in different markets all over the world. So they are also interested to cooperate with businesses in Myanmar. We aim to increase both trade and investment,” he said.

“We held close meetings with different businesses, partners, and diplomats to get as much knowledge as possible, to think over how we can do business here in a practical way. Our intention is that we would like to cooperate in various ways such as exchanging information, supporting UMFCCI in some events, etc. We are ready to help Myanmar businesses when they come to Poland.”

During the visit, the Polish chamber signed a memorandum of understanding with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) to strengthen cooperation between the two organisations. Kloczko said the MoU aimed at long-term cooperation between the two.

“[The] MoU is a kind of framework for cooperation. We did not have cooperation [up to] now. It will make it easier to communicate with UMFCCI. We need to make sure [we] have proper knowledge about Myanmar. It will also increase opportunities for organising events and further business missions to Myanmar in the future,” he said.

Zaw Min Win, vice president of the UMFCCI and president of the Myanmar Industries Association, said improving trade and investment and sharing technology and knowledge were priorities of the agreement.

He expects Myanmar companies to gain industrial-based technical know-how and to inherit highly advanced information technology from their cooperation with Polish firms. He also expects to increase production of high-quality food products and agriculture-based imports with the technological help of the Poles.

“This [MoU] will open a new chapter for enhancing mutually beneficial bilateral economic relations between our current business sectors and the Polish business sector,” he said.

“We invite responsible foreign businesses in our new era of economic development. There are good opportunities for Polish businesses. We assure you that our federation UMFCCI will do its utmost to ensure all the possible assistance you may need.

“Poland is a well-developed industrial country. As we want to develop our industrial sector in parallel with the agriculture sector, we are willing to share the benefits on a win-win basis.”

Zaw Min Win said the Poles should take advantage of Myanmar’s strategic location and abundant natural and human resources.

“We share a long border with China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh, and about 40 per cent of the world’s population are our direct neighbours. The domestic population is over 53 million and we have a very high potential for rapid growth and development,” he said.

Andrzej Bolesta, chief of the economic section of the Polish Embassy in Bangkok, said Polish businesses were very keen on doing business in Myanmar. He encouraged Polish companies to start exploring business opportunities there.

“Polish businesses are the best for you because they know very well how to do business in a difficult environment – in an environment where a lot [of things] are changing, in an environment where institutions are not working properly. We have gone through that phase in our development. You are going through that phase at the moment. You may choose other businesses from other countries but you will have [a lot of] leverage if you collaborate with Polish businesses,” he said.

“We will be one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, as our economy is expanding. It is becoming like a big cake, and I see no reason why Polish and Myanmar businesses [cannot] cooperate together … This is one of the first opportunities to discuss business. And the best way to discuss business is when you do it B2B [business to business] because companies can discuss what you can do together,” Bolesta said.

Probe planned on Thai fruit for China being resold illegally in the Kingdom

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


THE Internal Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry plans to investigate fruit-sorting facilities for Chinese companies that buy Thai fruit for export to China and then resell some of the lower-quality fruit illegally back on the Thai market.

“If Chinese companies that obtain a licence to do sorting of Thai fruit for export to China, or have facilities for Thai fruit inside Thailand for export, but they buy Thai fruit and resell it on the Thai market, this is illegal and violates the Foreign Business Act BE 2542,” said the department’s director-general, Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa.

According to the act, they could face a fine of between Bt100,000 and Bt1 million, and/or a prison sentence of three years.

She added that Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and China’s Agriculture Ministry had an agreement whereby Chinese companies can operate sorting facilities to buy and package Thai fruit for export to China under the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard. The fruit that does not meet GMP standards cannot be exported but also cannot be resold on the domestic Thai fruit market.

“The problem now is that when Chinese companies that buy Thai fruit have some that is lower than the GMP standard after the sorting process, they do not want to waste it, so they decide to resell it on the Thai market. But this violates the Foreign Business Act,” she said.

Lower-standard produce

The department plans to investigate and solve this problem.

Meanwhile, the department and the Justice Ministry are studying how to formulate a standard contract to solve the problem of Chinese fruit buyers with lower-standard fruit. This will help both parties, buyers and sellers, conduct fair business. China is not the only country to have fruit-sorting facilities in Thailand, as Japan, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam also do this business here, Wiboonlasana said.

A standard contract will be used for all of the countries doing business in Thailand, she said.

Somkid, Prawit off to Russia, Belarus on trade mission

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


DEPUTY Prime Ministers Somkid Jatusripitak and Prawit Wongsuwan will visit Russia and Belarus from today until Saturday to negotiate trade and investment.

Their trip precedes Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s official visit to Russia in May this year.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry will negotiate with Russia’s ministry of industry and trade to set up business partnerships promoting bilateral investment and trade. They also will collaborate on agricultural products especially rubber and rice, Commerce Minister Apiradee Tantraporn, who will be joining the delegation.

In Belarus, they will meet the deputy prime minister for the economy, the president of the country’s petrochemical committee, and its rubber firms to negotiate about trade partnerships between the two countries, she said.

Apiradee added that up to 37 Thai corporates will join the delegation to take part in a business-matching event.

They include agriculture and food-processing business, medical equipment, construction raw materials, auto parts, garments, and hospitality business. “Up to 40 Russian firms have also agreed to join this event,” she said.

Somkid will chair an event bringing together 10 Thai and Russian corporates under the concept “One-on-One”, as well as a Thai-Russian Business Round Table. Both events would explore opportunities to expand trade and investment, she said.

Bilateral trade was worth Bt70.65 billion at the end of 2015, a 50-per-cent decline year-on-year because of the depreciation of the ruble. Bilateral trade value with Belarus recorded Bt2.51 billion at the end of 2015, up 7 per cent year-on-year.