Advance Blog

June 22, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 22 June 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
4,059 (75  from prisons)225,365 [Past seven days: 23,101]1,479/ 410187,836196,5025,678,848 (+152,809) AZ: 125,890 SN: 26,919 8.58% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
3,963 [2,257 (get tested in hospital) + 1,706 (active case finding)]21 (in SQ)35,836 [25,669 in field hospital]61,520 (+1,154)1,693 (+35) [Past seven days: 208]7,906,696 (+227,639) 11.94 % of the population2,227,848  (+74,830) AZ: 1,853 SN: 72,977 3.36 % of the population
  • The CCSA said that despite having a cluster in the surrounding provinces, the centre has made a contingency plan to postpone or cancel ‘Phuket Sandbox’ scheme providing that there are 90 newly confirmed cases per week in the Resort Island; or there are spread of the virus in three districts or six subdistricts; or there are three clusters; or there are more than 80 percent of hospitalisation rate. The CCSA has made four steps of the plan: reducing activities, sealed route, hotel quarantine and cancel Phuket Sandbox.
  • The cabinet has approved the CCSA plan to pursue the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ scheme from 1 July and three islands (Samui, Pha-ngan and Tao) in Surat Thani from 15 July.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The head of the National Security Council who concurrently working as the head of a CCSA sub-committee said that despite seeing an emerging cluster in the Southern province of Yala spreading to 11 provinces, the government flagship Phuket Sandbox (reopening Phuket on 1 July) is still ongoing as planned. General Natthapol said that the situation will be assessed again once the Deputy PM and Energy Minister visited the island to conduct a visit on 25 June.—Krungthep Turakij
  • A vocal pro-government Dr Yong Poovorawan at Chulalongkorn University hinted that in order to fully curb the infection in Thailand which now has more of the so-called ‘Indian variant’, the authority should expedite the second AZ jab or should seek to administer the third jab for people who got vaccine which would bring about lower rate of immunity.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • The joint session of the passed the Referendum Bill with 611 voted for, 4 voted against and 2 abstains. The next step is for the PM to ascend this bill to the King for the royal signature.—The Standard
  • On 23 to 24 June, the Parliament is also going to hold a heated vote on Constitutional Amendment:
    • Ruling Democrat Party leader reiterates their position to vote for eight constitutional rejig proposals presented by the Democrat and two other coalition parties. The Democrat leader said its MPs are going to vote for proposals to strip the NCPO hand-picked Senators’ power to join the lower house in voting for the PM.—Thai Rath
    • A Senator said that more than 100 Senators agreed on various issues regarding the constitutional amendment. The group thought that they will turn down the MPs proposal to strip Senators’ power in nominating the PM, but agreed upon the proposal to return to the mixed member majoritarian (MMM) system. The senator said that a majority of the Senate will pass the PPRP proposal to amend Article 144 which involve penalty of MPs or Senators in intervening in in nominating the public servants and will amend the content in the second reading.—Krungthep Turakij
  • On 21 June, the freshly elected secretary-general of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) gave his incumbent interview saying that the direction of the party is to become a one-party government and the party will introduce a new economic team who will also be the party strong point in the upcoming election. He said Deputy Labour Minister and PPRP treasurer Narumon is not on the economic team. Captain Thammanat said his ascension to the position does not mean he aspire for an ‘upgrade’ to become a minister.—Thai Rath, Krungthep Turakij
  • Deputy PM Prawit warned protestors who are going to gather around the Government House on 24 June 2021 of violating the laws.—Thai Rath

Analysis/ opinion

  • Thai Rath tried to connect the dots on the under-progressed Chinese high speed railway and the more procurement of Chinese vaccines. Thai Rath made an observation that why the Thai PM has to struck a deal with Chinese chargé d’affaires, but not the minister or someone at higher level to secure more vaccines, plus, why there has not been any Chinese Ambassador sent to be stationed in the Kingdom. The newspaper raised a question whether the under-progressed high-speed train projects might sour the Sino-Thai relations.—Thai Rath

Economic:

CPTPP

  • Members of the Thailand Consumer Council in 32 provinces across the country submitted letters to their respective provincial authorities and local Commerce Ministry representatives to petition the government to slow down its submission of CPTPP negotiation request letter until the benefits of Thailand joining CPTPP are clearly established.  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij  Nation TV  Nation TV  Siam Rath
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ International Economic Policy Committee is scheduled to submit to the cabinet and PM Prayut its recommendations on Thailand’s accession to CPTPP on 24 June following a 50-day extension from the original deadline of 15 April 2021.  During this extension period, the Committee had held consultations with the private and public sectors on concerns related to CPTPP accession.  The latter comprises Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society as well as Ministry of Finance on issues ranging from remedial measures, free trade zone requirements and the security of Thailand’s agriculture sector and public health system. 
  • MFA opined that Thailand may lose opportunities by not joining CPTPP now that the United Kingdom is starting its accession negotiation process.  Should the UK join the trade pact first, Thailand’s negotiations will become more difficult as it will need to negotiate with 8 rather than 7 member countries.  At the same time, South Korea, Taiwan and China have expressed interests in joining the trade pact, which will make it more difficult for Thailand to accede should it continue to delay its moves.  Ministry of Agriculture noted that while CPTPP will put Thailand’s farmers at a disadvantage due to the UPOV 1991 provision, these restrictions may also compel Thailand to innovate new plant varieties. Source:  The Standard 
  • MFA recently convened a CPTPP Media focus group.  MFA told the media that Thailand should not dismiss the chance to accede to CPTPP and could submit its negotiation request letter to Japan as soon as it is ready, rather than at the CPTPP Committee meeting convened annually in August as previously understood.   This is because Japan had recently considered the UK’s negotiation request.  If UK succeeds in acceding to CPTPP, it could raise the standards required for Thailand to join the trade pact.  The new post-COVID19 trade rules and regulations would also make it harder for Thailand to join the Global Value Chain.  The MFA and Commerce Ministry do not expect the United States to re-join CPTPP in the near future since the US is more concerned with protecting and stimulating the domestic economy.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • Thailand and ASEAN countries plan to rev up discussions with Canada to establish a scope of negotiations for the ASEAN-Canada free trade agreement (FTA), ahead of the ASEAN-Canada Economic Ministers Meeting in September this year.  To this end, Commerce Ministry recently organised a webinar series to publicise the results of its studies on ASEAN-Canada FTA.  The studies disclosed that compared to CPTPP, the ASEAN-Canada FTA will strengthen the value chains among ASEAN countries as it offers more flexibilities in terms of customs rules and regulations.  ASEAN countries that are not CPTPP members will benefit from rules of origin agreement in the ASEAN-Canada FTA, which will increase their trade value by 1.4 billion USD.  Meanwhile, the ASEAN countries that are CPTPP members will see trade value go up by 546 million USD.  Commerce Ministry will also organize public hearings for ASEAN-Canada FTA from June 22-29.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij Bangkok Post

Others

  • NESDC said the Thai government has much to do to improve its ranking in IMD’s world competitiveness index and achieve its goal of becoming second in ASEAN over the next few years.  In particular, Thailand needs to accelerate digitalisation to facilitate ease of doing business, upskill workers to, restructure the industrial sector to become an advanced industry and improve its education.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to offer city bubble and activity-based travel agreement in sandbox areas to ease quarantine requirements in Thailand and the visitor’s home country.  Travel bubbles under sealed routes can be conducted based on activities, such as wedding bubbles and baby bubbles for those seeking IVF treatment.  The target groups include travellers from Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • TAT signed an MoU with the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) to launch the Hug Thais project in Phuket to coincide with the island’s reopening under the sandbox model.  The project promotes locally-made products with the goal of helping local businesses and SMEs, in which both domestic and foreign tourists are eligible to receive discounts and cash voucher for purchases from the retail sector.  The project is anticipated to generate more than 100 billion Baht for the local economy within 6 months.  Source:  Manager Online
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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