Advance Blog

July 21, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 21 July 2020


Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today, Thailand reports five newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,255 cases. Out of the total number, 3,105 have been discharged from hospital; 92 are being hospitalised (at 95.39%). The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed case Thai nationals returned from the Japan, Egypt and Sudan, and has been in state quarantine since. This is the 57th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
  • CCSA will hold a meeting later this week and will decide on further easing COVID-19 related restrictions allowing the following groups for foreigners to enter Thailand with 14 days state/hospital quarantine:
    • Migrant workers (from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) in the construction industry.
    • Migrant workers (from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) in food export businesses.
    • Foreign visitors who co-organise trade exhibitions.
    • Foreign visitors in film production group.
    • Foreign workers who hold Thai Elite Card.
    • Foreigners who wish to join medical and wellness tourism.


  • Cabinet reshuffle remains on high-agenda:
    • Yesterday, two ministers from the coalition parties announced its resignation: PMO Minister Tewan announced in the morning that his resignation would pave a way for the PM to reshuffle the cabinet. Meanwhile, in the evening the Labor Minister Chatumongkol did not cite any reason for his resignation. He last month stepped down as leader of the Action Coalition for Thailand
    • This has made the cabinet with six vacant portfolios.
  • The Royal Thai Army has (again) become a target of pro-democracy movements:
    • Following the former deputy Army spokesperson who called the protestors “naïve and ignorant” on her personal Facebook and deleted, protesters rallied at the headquarters of Thailand’s army on Monday. An activist on stage tore off the portrait of Army Chief Gen Apirat in front of the Army HQ.—all media outlet
    • The Army spokesperson distanced itself from the colonel, saying the post was her personal opinion and not the position of the army.
    • A document which showed that the army plans to buy a new aircraft for general use worth 1.34 billion baht in the 2021 fiscal year was circulated online, sparked heated debate on such a luxurious procurement in time of economic hardship.


Food Export

  • Commerce Minister Jurin proclaimed that Thailand could step up as the world’s top 10 food exporter during the launch of the Thai Food, World Food Road Map.  Despite the pandemic, Thailand’s food export figures in May still reported a 15 percent increase, mainly in frozen chicken as well as frozen, chilled and dried fruits.  The road map aims to establish Thailand as the hub in agricultural products and quality food, with strategies focusing on organic agriculture, adding value to food items by using technology and innovations, finding new export markets and appointing trade commissioners for every province.  Source:  Tharnsettakij Newspaper, 19-22 July
  • Federation of Thai Industries contended that Thailand could surpass Belgium as the world’s top 10 food exporter in 2020.  It anticipates a 3-5 percent growth in food export to 1 trillion Baht particularly for tuna, canned fruits, animal feed, chicken products and seasoning items, all of which surged in the first five months of this year during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Meanwhile, Belgium’s export has declined as its primary markets are European countries, in which demands are slumping. Source:
  • Thailand’s rice export is likely to plunge the lowest in a decade, dropping to 6.5 million tonnes this year, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.  This is largely due to the drought that reduces supply, weakened global demand caused by the pandemic and strong Baht.  From January – May, Thailand’s rice shipment contracted by 31.9 percent and export value by 13.2 percent YoY.  Source:


  • Bank of Thailand said it does not need financial assistance from the IMF during the pandemic because unlike the 1997 financial crisis, Thailand currently has a strong financial sector and economic fundamentals.  It foresees that Thailand’s recovery could take two years with a swoosh-shape similarly to the Nike logo.  BOT affirms it will extend the 500 billion Baht soft loan to the end of 2021 and noted that the Baht appreciation is a concern for foreign investors.  Source:
  • Government Savings Bank is considering extending the debt moratorium measure beyond September to continue helping those affected by COVID-19.  Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives has also requested additional emergency loans of 10 billion Baht to aid farmers.  Source:
  • Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Negotiations gears up for the upcoming remote ASEAN SEOM meeting scheduled to take place in late July.  As part of the agenda, ASEAN senior officials will be discussing with 11 negotiating partners, including Australia, on modernizing existing FTAs and will explore the possibilities of doing FTAs with Canada, Eurasia and EU.  Source:
  • Most financial institutions reported lower first-half net profits and higher bad loans, mainly from higher provisions for loan losses, in line with rising loan delinquency prospects triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.  For example, Kasikornbank and its subsidiaries announced a net profit for the first half this year of 9.6 billion baht, down 52.2 percent YoY.  Source:
  • Thailand Tech Startup Association has urged the government to devise measures to boost the competitiveness of local start-ups, which are struggling to compete with dominant foreign players.  The Association asked the government to offer incentives for the private sector and government ministries to use local startup’s services.  Source:
  • Best Inc, a Chinese logistics firm backed by e-commerce titan Alibaba, plans to invest 300 million Baht in the second half of 2020 to boost its express delivery service, Best Express, in Thailand.  The company wants to tap into Thailand’s booming logistics industry, which is projected to rise by 35 percent to 6.6 billion Baht this year, owing largely to the lockdown.  Source:


  • An opinion piece on the hope to have RCEP the key to East Asia’s recovery
  • An interview with Sunai Phasak, Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch, on the reason government is extending the emergency decree in “Ending the rule of the junta in medical gowns”.—thisrupt
  • Why mainland Chinese love to consume Western products, but remain loyal to its Chinese nationalist principles.—A Day Bulletin
The Australian Embassy Bangkok