Advance Blog

June 18, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 18 June 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today Thailand reports six newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,141 cases. Out of the total number, 2,997 have been discharged from hospital (or at 95.42%); 86 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The new six cases are Thais arrived from aboard and have been in state quarantine since. This is the 24th consecutive days that there is no locally transmission in Thailand.
    • Yesterday, in the national address, the PM pledged to transform the way of administration to conform with the “new normal”. He will take a more proactive approach to tackle with problems people that are facing. The full official transcript of the statement can be found here.

Politics

  • There will be a meeting of the interim committee of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) to set a pathway for the upcoming executive nomination. Earlier, more than half of the executives resigned, resulted in the change of leadership. There have been conflicting news on how this party will be led.
    • Deputy PM Prawit will be the party leader for the interval period of six months. Then, there will be another party leader to replace him and lead the next election.
    • And that the internal rift within the PPRP is ended with PM Prawit will be the party leader, Anoocha Nakhasai will be the party secretary-general and Santi Promphat will be the party director. The deputy party leader will be Industrial Minister Suriya, Justice Minister Somsak, Education Minister Natapol, Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat.
    • The general assembly of the party will begin next month as the acting party leader and the Finance Minister Uttama is said to send official letters to inform acting executive committee members to get ready for a general meeting scheduled for July 3.
    • Breaking: the deputy head of the interim committee Mr Paiboon said the party will hold the general assembly as early as 27 June at 1pm. He assured that the party members will only nominate DPM Prawit as the party leader without any contender.
  • CARE, a new political group, was officially launched yesterday with ex-politicians close to the ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin, a TV commentator, a renowned architect, an economist and a SEA Write author. The group said they have no inspiration of forning a political party.
  • In response to the earlier report that the PM is planning to grant amnesty to political offenders, the government spokesperson dismissed the report as groundless, citing the process can only be done through the Justice Ministry’s Corrections Department’s authority. The spokesperson said, the PM has no authority to interfere in the process.—all media outlet

Business:

CPTPP

  • The website Change.org saw over 20,000 signatures petitioning against Thailand acceding to the CPTPP via the hashtag #NoCPTPP.  The campaign made reference to Greenpeace’s objection against the UPOV clause.  Source:  https://www.komchadluek.net/news/regional/434084

Investment

  • Board of Investment (BOI) approved privileges for a new agriculture category that uses high technology, namely the Plant Factory.  BOI Board also agreed to improve privileges for existing agriculture categories to promote more high technology and innovation to be in line with the Bio, Circular and Green (BCG) economy. 

Tourism

Others

  • Fruit growers in southern Thailand are expected to harvest 5.93 percent more Durian, mangosteen, rambutan and langsat this year because of the increase in orchard land.  Specifically, the production of Durian is to rise by 22 percent.   In the north, production of longan is expected to rise by 2.42 percent YoY due to suitable weather conditions.  Source:  https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30389722
  • China’s lockdown as a result of the pandemic has minimal impact on the demand for Thai Durians and in the long run, market outlook for Thai Durians in China remains strong.  Commerce Ministry revealed that Thailand exported USD 567 million worth of Durians to China from January – April 2020, increasing by 78 percent in value YoY.  Globally, Thailand’s Durian export grew 30 percent in the first four months of 2020 YoY.  Source:  https://www.producereport.com/article/thai-durian-exports-china-sustain-strong-momentum-2020
  • Lazada projects that Thailand’s e-commerce market will surge 35 percent to 220 billion Baht in value this year due to the lockdown.  From March to May, the number of new sellers joining its platform grew over 75 percent and millions of new buyers came on board.  Its best-selling products saw sales increasing by 250 percent to above 500 percent during the lockdown months.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1936728/lazada-predicts-35-rise-in-2020-market

ASEAN/World

  • Water levels in the lower Mekong basin are at historic lows according to government and Mekong River Commission data despite the onset of the rainy season in South East Asia. According to the MRC report and a previous study done by the Eyes on Earth NGO in April, the damming of the upper Mekong by China has exacerbated and precipitated drought conditions downstream.—Thai Enquirer

Australia

  • The Constitution Court has accept a petition filed by the opposition asking it to rule on Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat qualifications as an MP and cabinet minister due to his conviction in a case in Australia in 1993. The Deputy Minister was given 15 days by the court to respond to the petition.—all media outlet
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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