Advance Blog

November 29, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 26 November 2021

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollTotal vaccination
6,559 (752 from prisons)2,094,886 (last seven days: 43,906)64 (last seven days: 340)90,735,069 (+266,114)
1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July) 
47,331,644 (+98,118)40,202,745 (+146,673)3,200,680 (+21,323) 
  • The President of AstraZeneca Thailand said that the second generation of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine is undergoing clinical trials. The head of AstraZeneca Thailand said that the second-generation vaccine and related technology would be transferred to the Thai government and partners next year.—Bangkok Post
  • The CCSA spokesperson said that despite calls for the reopening of entertainment complexes before New Year, the CCSA decided to keep their original timeline which is from 16 January 2022. The CCSA has indicated that the entertainment complexes should pursue universal covid prevention measures.
  • On the measures to re-open the Kingdom to international tourists, the CCSA has allowed the re-enter on land and sea borders. As for the land border, the CCSA eyes to allow visitors to Nong Khai checkpoint from 24 December.
  • The CCSA said that they will soon allow vaccine e-passport via ‘Mor Phrom’ application.
  • The PM discussed virtually with the head of Chinese telecommunication giant Hua Wei and has outlined four cooperation frameworks between the Royal Thai Government and Hua Wei:
    • The establishment of Thailand 5G Ecosystem Innovation Center (5G EIC), in digital agricultural business and smart hospitals;
    • Increase the status of Thailand to be ‘Regional Hub’ for Data Centers and Cloud services;
    • Train digital human resources with trilateral collaboration (government, education and private sectors);
    • Develop Smart port and Smart airport using 5G and AI technologies.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The Deputy PM and the head of the Palang Pracharat Party dismissed the reports that the fallen-from-grace former Deputy Labour Minister and PPRP’s treasurer will be nominated as the party’s Bangkok Governor Candidate.—Thai Post
  • After Thailand is not invited to join the Biden initiated ‘Summit for Democracy, there have been ramifications from all sides of the political aisles:
    • The Deputy PM and Foreign Minister dismissed the Summit as “nothing more than pure politics being played by some countries against one another”. Thai top diplomat responded to a query during a House session by opposition MPs that not being invited is a good thing for the Kingdom as it will be difficult for Bangkok to be seen as taking side. The veteran diplomat said that the international reality has more than what the people understands.–ThaiPBSWorld, Matichon
    • Deputy Professor Dr Panitan Wattanayagorn said that not being invited does not have any effect on Thailand and that Washington internal politics is undermining Thailand. The international strategy pundit said that “Western liberalism has been in deep recess and dying due to the inability to tackle inequality and racism.” The Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Security Advisory Committee sees the summit as an attempt by Biden administration to revive its popularity during the mid-term election. Panitan said that there are more hidden agendas into this and it is mere Washington internal politics.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The MFA spokesperson said that Thailand recognised the summit and that the Kingdom does not have concern about the invitation. This is up to Washington as the organiser. Regardless of the invitation, the spokesperson said, Thailand remains committed to the principles of democracy and human rights in the same fashion as invited and uninvited countries.–Matichon
  • The Foreign Minister also defended his visit to Myanmar as part of the ‘Quiet Diplomacy’ to deliver humanitarian packages. The Thai top diplomat responded to the query made by an Opposition MP that he was not just sneakily made a visit there, but the Foreign Ministry is not an attention-seeker agency. The FM said that he was asked by ASEAN countries and international community to be the bridge with Myanmar.–Matichon
  • In the right-wing bid to the expel human-rights supporter Amnesty International Thailand out of the Kingdom, Seksakon Atthawong, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister gave a speech to mobilise the supporters and pledged that he will quit if the movement cannot kick the human rights advocate group out of the Kingdom for undermining the national security and monarchy.—Naew Na
    • A vocal Senator and former civil society said that the problem with Amnesty International Thailand is with its staff which always stand against the government. Wanlop Tangkananurak said that the Thailand office has defended the wrong things and believed that the organisation will collapse in the near future.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

APEC

  • In an exclusive interview with Krungthep Turakij newspaper, Foreign Minister Don said Thailand prioritises economic diplomacy throughout its APEC Chairmanship next year.  This will correspond with Thailand’s priorities including reviving post-COVID19 economy and overcoming the middle-income trap, as well as cement its role in the region.  Under the 2022 APEC banner Open.Connect.Balance, Thailand will revamp post-COVID 19 economy through the BCG Economic Model and ensure its adoption by SMEs, as well as foster economic cooperation among APEC members in reviving trade in Asia Pacific.  FM Don added that Thailand is becoming a champion in using soft power in tourism, public health, culture and food.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij

Akara Mine

  • The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has combined 2 cases against Akara Resources Plc into one to speed up the investigation process.  The charges are land encroachment and use of proxy shareholders.  The DSI made this decision in response to a petition submitted by the Civic Group for Reform of Resources and Gold on 24 November, as they demanded an update on the legal proceedings of these 2 cases.  Sources:  Bangkok Post  Nation  TV

Electric Vehicles (EV)

  • The Electric Vehicle Board (EV Board) is expected to approve measures to boost investment in EVs, with Finance Ministry slated to provide support in 1) reducing excise tax on EVs; 2) introducing subsidies to keep the price of EVs low and 3) attracting investments into constructions of electric charging stations.  The price subsidy scheme might be financed by a government fund to ensure the price of EVs is competitive with those of internal combustion engine vehicles.  Furthermore, the government has set sight on Thailand becoming the manufacturing centre Electric Pick-Up Trucks, by leveraging on Thailand’s existing capabilities as the world’s leading manufacturer of large-size pick-up trucks.  Sources:  Daily News  Bangkok Post
  • PTT expects to make a final investment decision on the development of an EV assembly facility early next year as part of its plan to launch a new joint venture with FoxConn and use renewable power.  Earlier, PTT signed an MoU with Hon Hai Precision Industry, a subsidiary of the Taiwan-based Foxconn, to make a USD1-2 billion investment in an EV joint venture in Thailand.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • PM Prayut convened a virtual meeting with Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei yesterday to deepen cooperation on the use of 5G and AI.  PM Prayut recognises Huawei’s profound contributions to Thailand’s combat against the pandemic and digital transformation, and said Thailand will work with Huawei areas such as digital economy, 5G smart hospitals, cloud and computing, digital power, smart logistics and data centres.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Industry Minister Suriya announced at a BCG Model seminar that he aims for Thailand to become the bio-hub of ASEAN by 2027 in a bid to boost Thailand’s post-pandemic GDP.  To date, the government is developing a suite of incentives to lure investments into BCG industries, as well as an Eco Industrial Town in 37 provinces nationwide as mandated by the 20-year-national strategy.   Investors have been investing in bio-economy projects worth more than 10 billion Baht, such as a polylactic acid (PLA) project in Rayong, the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex in Nakhon Sawan and the Palm Biocomplex project in Chon Buri.  Source:  Post TodayBangkok Post
  • Federation of Thai Industries noted SMEs are struggling to access loans to adopt BCG trends and has called out for the government’s assistance.  FTI added that Thailand has the upper hand in developing bio-economy because it could capitalise on its natural endowment in bio-diversity.  Source:  Post Today
  • A joint venture led by Gulf Energy (GPC International Terminal) signed a PPP agreement with the Port Authority of Thailand to develop the third phase of Chonburi province’s Laem Chabang deep-seaport into a trade and investment gateway of the EEC.  Construction is set to begin in 2023 and completed in 2025.  The government is set to invest 13 billion Baht and private sector 32 billion Baht.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 26 November 2021 Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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