Archive for September, 2007

FBA : “Japanese investors are worried”

Who said that ? The Commerce Minister, who went to seminar in Tokyo yesterday “Japan-Thailand: The Strategic Economic Partner under Jtepa”.

Commerce Minister Krirk-krai Jirapaet said Japanese businessmen were worried about four key issues: the import of automotive goods, customs procedures, new investment and reinvestment and the amended Foreign Business Act’s restrictions against foreign shareholders.

“They [Japanese businessmen] are uncomfortable [in the belief that] the FBA amendments will draw investment barriers to them. However, the chairman of the Thailand’s Board of Trade has explained that the amended law is aimed mostly at creating good governance in the country,” Krirk-krai said.(Nation)

Must have been a hard day for mister Krirk-krai… who started the amendement process of the FBA last october (read our dossier here).

At last now, he can’t say anymore that he doesn’t know the feeling of foreign investors…
And because japanese businesses are so important for the thai economy (car industry)… we could hope that their concerns will be heard…
Anyway, it’s rather funny to see thai officials sticking to their motto, like a life jacket : amended FBA is for “good governance” only. 😉

Doing Business Index : the tree hiding the forest

Good news : Thailand ranks 15th on the “Ease of Doing Business” Index, published by the World Bank, up from 17th in 2006.

Singapore, for the second year, is still in first position.

However, it’s enough to look at the details of the index’s components to turn off a bit our enthusiasm… Continue reading ‘Doing Business Index : the tree hiding the forest’

Another scandal ? Education Minister under fire

Hum… it’s becoming like a festival (after Interior, IT and Deputy Commerce Minister)…

Last victim : The Education Minister.

NCCC commissioner Methee Krongkaeo said Mr Wijit might have violated Article 100 of the anti-graft law, which bans government officials and their spouses from entering into or having interests in contracts made with state agencies under their authorisation. It also bans government officials and their spouses from playing a role in private companies under the officials’ supervision.” (Bangkok Post)

And as usual, we have the classic line of defense : I didn’t know.

“Mr Wijit [Education Minister], who also serves a councillor of Siam University, insisted that legal experts told him the post does not violate the law.”

Corruption Perception Index : Thailand slips from 63 to 84th position

Transparency International releases its annual corruption perceptions index.

Thailand slipped back from 11th place to 14th in the Asia-Pacific index and from 63rd to 84th in the overall 180-nation world index.

New-Zeland is in first position. The worst are Somalia and Burma (179 and 180).

Click here to see the rankings and tables.

Shareholdings scandal : Interior Minister resigns

Aree, the Interior Minister, has resigned, after ITMinister and the Deputy Commerce Minister (read here and here).

As usual, he didn’t see nothing, he didn’t know nothing. “I would have rectified the cap violations if I knew about the rule“.

Furthermore, we learned that one of the company in which he owns shares… was working with the government (supply of food) (Nation)… Even until january of this year.

And furthermore… Aree was minister before the Coup, in Thaksin’s government…

Therefore, as he said : “he had consistently declared his shares on three occasions without being aware of the equity cap. He disclosed his assets when appointed to be permanent secretary at the Interior Ministry, deputy Education minister and Interior minister“.

The burning question now : why the NCCC didn’t react 2 years ago ? Why the NCCC is disclosing the story now ?

Like all essential questions in Thailand… we’ll never have an answer.

The political manipulation is obvious.

Retail Act : unlikely to be passed by this government…

The draft Retail and Wholesale Business Act is unlikely to be passed by this government, considering the short time left in its mandate, says Lt Jit Siratranont, a National Legislative Assembly member (NLA).

Lt Jit, also a spokesman for the NLA commerce committee, said he was not even sure if the legislation would be passed by an elected government, which could prioritise rapid economic growth over protecting small businesses. Continue reading ‘Retail Act : unlikely to be passed by this government…’

Court suspends case against Thaksin : serious blow, or serious trick ?

The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to suspend a corruption case relating to the Ratchadaphisek land deal against ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Potjaman until prosecutors bring them back to court.

“The court decided to suspend the case and the trial will resume when the two defendants are found,” chief judge Thonglor Chomngam said. Continue reading ‘Court suspends case against Thaksin : serious blow, or serious trick ?’

Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.