Advance Blog

July 6, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 6 July 2020

News  

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today Thailand reports five newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,195 cases. Out of the total number, 3,072 have been discharged from hospital; 65 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The new case arrived from Kuwait and have been in state quarantine. This is the 43rd consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
  • Health Service Support Department said the government will only allow foreign patients who have tested negative for Covid-19 to enter Thailand for treatment. All foreigners arriving for “medical tourism” visits are required to take three Covid-19 tests and enter a 14-day quarantine at a medical institution.
  • The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic  –  Daily News
  • Major western retailers have begun to pull Thai coconut products from their shelves amid allegations the coconuts were picked by poorly treated monkeys. Commerce Ministry dismissed claims by an animal rights group that monkeys trained to pick coconuts were maltreated and announced plans to take foreign diplomats on a visit to see the monkeys at work for themselves. — Manager

Politics

  • Suthep said the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) has decided to nominate Anek Laothamatas, another founding member of the party, for the post of labour minister if there is a cabinet reshuffle, replacing MR Chatu Mongol Sonakul, who recently resigned as leader of the five-MP party  — All media outlet
  • Action Coalition for Thailand Party elected secretary-general Taweesak Na Takuatung as party leader, replacing Labour Minister MR Chatumongol Sonakul who resigned recently  –  All media outlet

Business:

CPTPP

  • To join the CPTPP, Asia Foundation suggests policymakers should consider if Thailand’s socio-economic and political conditions meet the requirements for necessary reforms and restructuring. 
  • JETRO reiterates that the importance of CTPP is increasing post-Covid19 as countries reorganise their supply chains.  Japan supports Thailand to join the CPTPP.   It now prioritizes investing in countries with economic partnership agreement.  As such, if Thailand does not join the CPTPP, Japanese companies might bypass Thailand and instead invest and produce in Vietnam.
  • China declared that it has an open and positive attitude toward joining the CPTPP.  CPTPP could help China reduce its reliance on the US market and provide another avenue for China to integrate with other Asia-Pacific countries. 
  • Dr Pavida Pananonda of Thammasat Business School said the government has not undertaken sufficient public consultation, but is instead rushing into the negotiation process.  It does not have a clear understanding of the potential impacts of intellectual property protection related to plant varieties and therefore cannot generate policies that could mitigate its adverse impacts on local farmers.  Source:  Asia Focus Section, Bangkok Post, 6 July 2020

Others

  • Inflation declined by 1.57 percent YoY in June following a 3.44 percent decrease in May, marking the fourth consecutive month of declines. The June figure was better than expected, owing to the rebound of the service sector due to the easing of the lockdown.  Nevertheless, Commerce Ministry still expects deflation to range between -7.6 – 8.6 percent, greater than originally forecasted.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1945464/deflation-likely-to-deepen-says-commerce-ministry
  • The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) insists the 400-billion-Baht budget earmarked for economic and social rehabilitation projects is instrumental in stopping the Thai economy from plunging more than 5-6 percent this year. The first batch of budget worth 80-100 billion Baht is scheduled to be implemented in July, the second batch worth 100 billion is to go before the cabinet in August, and the rest worth 100 billion Baht each in September and October.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1946460/nesdc-looks-to-b400bn-budget
  • The aviation industry is anticipated to recover at a slow pace, most likely taking more than a year to return to pre-pandemic level.  Although domestic flights are resuming, carriers will still struggle as domestic flights usually do not generate profit.  Airlines are also not benefitting from the government’s assistance and tourism stimulus package.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1946360/priority-boarding
  • Bangkok and Chiang Mai remain among the 30 most expensive cities for expats in Asia, according to the latest ECA International Survey.  Bangkok was ranked 28th and Chiang Mai 29th.  ECA International said the growing economy and increased foreign investment during pre-pandemic era had made Thailand more expensive, combined with the stronger Baht.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1945444/thai-cities-getting-pricier-for-expats
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has joined forces with private sectors to set the direction of economic diplomacy with Lower Mekong Basin Countries.  The discussion centred on increasing trade cooperation, investment and border trade with Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam.  Source:  https://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news/detail/TCATG200706112018630

Australia

  • Australia will effectively seal off the state of Victoria from the rest of the country, announcing unprecedented measures to tackle a worrying surge in coronavirus cases  — Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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