CHENNAI: Thailand aims to increase the bilateral trade with India to $10 billion in the next two years, a senior official from the Southeast Asian nation said.

“Following the Thailand government’s policy to strengthen the relationship with all countries, including India, a great deal of effort has been put in forging a bilateral trade relationship with India,” Thai Trade Centre Director Paisan Maraprygsavan said.

“The current two-way trade with India stands at $6.6 billion. We want to increase it to $10 billion in two years,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of inauguration of the seventh edition of Thailand Trade Show, 2011 at the Chennai Trade Centre.

He said India signing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand and with the ASEAN countries would help strengthening the two-way trade relations.

India imports various products, including cosmetics, furniture and rubber, while it exports automobile parts, sea food, diamond, coal and plastic products to Thailand, he added.

The three-day expo, Thailand Trade Show-2011, was formally inaugurated by Royal Thai Consulate Consul-General Chanchai Charanvatnakit.

He said more than 100 exhibitors ranging from food, beverage, garments, textiles, fashion accessories, health and kitchen products were taking part in the event.

Thailand to shed 'sex tourism' tag soon

Jarnson said the Thai food and dance festival in Goa, in association with the Vivanta by Taj hotels and resorts, was just such an attempt to project Thailand as a place steeped in culture, which is quite similar to the culture of the Indian sub-continent and tradition and a rich and diverse culinary palette.

Arguably called the sex tourism capital of the world, Thailand is now deliberately using the family tourism label to shed the sex destination tag, a Thai diplomat said here Friday.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event organised in Panaji to promote Thailand as a tourism destination, Tomwit Jarnson, the Thai consul general in Mumbai, said family tourism would eventually edge Thailand away from the slur of ‘sex tourism’ in the years to come.

“We are trying to project Thailand as a family tourism destination. We are slowly changing the perception of Thailand to the rest of the world,” Jarnson said.

Jarnson said the Thai food and dance festival in Goa, in association with the Vivanta by Taj hotels and resorts, was just such an attempt to project Thailand as a place steeped in culture, which is quite similar to the culture of the Indian sub-continent and tradition and a rich and diverse culinary palette.

“Destination Thailand is an annual event organised by us which helps us reach out to the people of India through our food, music and dance. We are very happy to have the festival in Goa this year where the people of this city will experience the unique characteristics and rich cultural heritage which our country has to offer,” he said.

“We are slowly developing facilities in Thailand which will attract family tourism. We have a lot of Indian families who travel to Thailand,” Jarnson said.

He further said that the Thailand tourism authorities were trying to project Phuket – which, along with Bangkok and Pattaya, is regarded as the prime sex tourism area in Thailand – as a family tourism destination.

Although banned by law, prostitution is common place in the tourism districts of Thailand, which nearly 14 million tourists visit annually — a large chunk of these are single males or male groups of tourists seeking sex or sex-oriented fun.

A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report has pegged the number of female prostitutes in the country at 2 lakh.


The Department of Industrial Works is amending the ministerial announcement concerning practices that create environmental impact by factories to update the rules to the current practice.

The Department under the Industry Ministry (Thailand) revealed that the ministerial announcement on the rules for factories to followed is out-of-date.

New adjustment will be made on the factory’s type and size specification, waste and pollution limit, as well as qualifications of personnel. It said the new rules would be clearer, especially on the issues that concerned environmental impact.

The current ministerial announcement stated that factories that produce up to certain levels of pollution must have a certified environmentalist to monitor the factories’ performances. The Department said the problem was the type and quantity of the pollution limit did not coincide with the current practice.

The new policy is expected to finish by the end of the year. Once completed, it will be implemented within 180 days, leaving some time for each factory to adjust.

The tourism industry is likely to see a growth in income this year thanks to long weekends and political stability.

According to Kasikorn Research Center, the tourism sector is expected to gain around 6.5 billion baht in income or about eight percent increase during August 12-14 weekend.

Besides the long weekend, improvement in the political situation is another factor that spurs consumers’ desire to travel.

However, high oil prices and the hike in consumer product prices may force holiday makers to be more careful of their spending. Many of them may choose to travel to nearby provinces in order to save money.

Still, Kasikorn Research Center is hopeful the country’s tourism industry will continue to grow and will earn more than 400 billion baht this year, a four percent growth from last year.


Tata Steel accepts $130-mn to settle UK plant loss

Tata Steel’s arm here said it had got $130 million as final settlement from the consortium of global steel buyers which had prematurely terminated, in May 2009, a 10-year purchase contract.

The termination had plunged Tata’s Teesside Cast Products (TCP) unit in northeast England into losses, leading to partial closure and layoffs at the factory. The matter went into arbitration, with Tata claiming a loss of $220 mn from the action.

The arbitration tribunal upheld the Tata claim that agreement was not validly terminated. On January 5, Tata Steel UK received a partial final award in its favour. Tata Steel, in a statement issued to the stock exchanges in India, said, “Following that partial final award, a commercial settlement to all disputes relating to the offtake agreements was reached and on June 21, Tata Steel completed a full and final settlement of claims with the consortium of former offtakers. As a result of this settlement, Tata Steel has received an aggregate sum of approximately $130 million.”

This final settlement comes four months after Tata Steel UK sold TCP to Sahaviriya Steel Industries, a Thai company, in a deal valuing the business at $469 mn.

The consortium of four buyers which had withdrawn from the 10-year buying contract were Marcegaglia of Italy, Dongkuk of South Korea, the Swiss-headquartered Duferco and Alvory of Uruguay.


Thai Indian entrepreneur’s wealth soars by 252%

The ongoing political turmoil in Thailand has apparently not prevented the kingdom”s richest people from getting richer.The biggest gainer in percentage terms is longtime Thai Indian resident Aloke Lohia.

His wealth soared by 252 percent when he took his integrated polyester company, Indorama Ventures, public earlier this year. This son of an Indian entrepreneur is a newly minted billionaire and jumped 13 notches to No. 6, with a net worth of 1.25 billion dollars.

The 40 wealthiest Thais are now worth 36.5 billion dollars, up 46 percent from last year, according to the latest Forbes Asia Thailand Rich List. Three quarters of the tycoons on the rich list added to their fortunes thanks to a booming stock market and a strengthening currency.

Also joining the country’s billionaire ranks for the first time this year are Pruksa Real Estate’s Thongma Vijitpongpun (No.8; 1.15 billion dollars) and Mitr Phol Sugar’s Isara Vongkusolkit (No. 10; 1.1 billion dollars). In all, there are 11 billionaires this year, six more than last year.

Read More:  Thai Indian entrepreneur’s wealth soars by 252%

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