Food exports up 6 percent year on year

The value of food exports from Thailand is projected to grow up to 8 percent this year to more than US$26 billion, up from US$24 billion last year, mainly due to more value added food items and rising global demand. Rice exports were strong but so were those of more processed foods such as processed chicken meat, canned seafood products, semi-cooked and frozen shrimp and seasoning items. The Thai government is working to promote food research and development and is pushing food producers to innovate and develop with the market. Thailand is the largest food exporter in ASEAN and the 12th largest in the world.

New business registrations rose 6 percent year on year in the first two months of 2017 to 12.030 with 5,700 of those in February in part due to economic stimulus measures, an improving economy and tax measures that offered double deductions for investment expenses from corporate income taxes for private-sector investment were extended another year. Some conditions have been adjusted, with a deduction for investment expenses from corporate income tax for private-sector investment cut to only 1.5 times from double in the previous iteration of the measure. Other measures that have contributed to the growth have included allowing individual business owners to register as juristic persons, the incorporation of juristic persons registered by only one person and the Secured Transactions Act which allows small and medium-sized enterprises and startups to use intellectual property, raw materials and inventory as collateral thus giving them easier access to credit.

The US decision to raise its benchmark interest rate has seen the baht strengthen marginally along with other regional currencies as investors drop the dollar. The baht rose to 35.03 to the US dollar and the Stock Exchange of Thailand settled 1.04 percent higher after a brisk day of trading that saw turnover worth 56.1 billion baht. Market volatility is expected to continue as the US Federal Reserve indicated that it would raise the rate again but not when. However, the Bank of Thailand remains confident that the policy rate in Thailand will stay steady at 1.05 percent and the Ministry of Commerce indicated that if the Fed raises rates twice more this year as indicated that could weaken the baht and increase exports although they warned that the unpredictable trade policies of the US President and his team could affect trade between the two countries and between the US and other countries in the region.

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Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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