Applications for BOI priviliges in EEC rise
The Eastern Economic Corridor which comprises the eastern provinces of Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao, saw the number of business permit applications and requests for expansion rise to 529, worth 140 billion baht in the first 11 months of the year. Chonburi saw the highest number of business permit applications and requests for expansion at 271 with a value of 19.717 billion baht. Chachoengsao had 117 valued at 34.8 billion and Rayong had 141 applications but with the highest value at 89.433 billion baht. Sectors applying for the EEC included automotive and auto parts, metal products, and plastic products. Operation in the EEC gives businesses many benefits beyond the usual Board of Investment promotions including personal income tax cuts for experts, exemption from import duty on necessary machinery, and a 50 percent corporate tax cut for five years for eligible industries. The EEC is looking to attract businesses involved in Smart Electronics, Medical and Wellness Tourism, Food Technology, Automation and Robotics, Aviation, Biochemical, Petrochemical and Eco-friendly Products, as well as development of infrastructure and logistics, Research and Development and Technology Support Services.
Qatar Airways launched direct Doha – Chiang Mai flights last week and is looking to expand further with Doha – U-Tapao Airport flights on January 28, 2018. The airline also plans on making its high season 5th flight out of Bangkok permanent next year. The airline currently flies 35 times a week to Bangkok, 14 times a week to Phuket and daily to Krabi. Currently Qatar flies four times a week to Chiang Mai but is looking to extend that to daily and U-Tapao will also see four flights a week when the route begins next month. Thai AirAsia is also looking to increase destinations, turning to India for new routes. The airline doesn’t expect to add more Chinese destinations but is looking at increasing frequency to destinations they already serve. Thai AirAsia currently flies to 14 Chinese cities on 22 routes from Thailand. The airline is also looking to fly to Sihanoukville in Cambodia and increase interprovincial links in the domestic market.
Thailand was removed from the United States Trade Representatives Priority Watch List to the Watch List after showing improvement in tackling intellectual property violations. The USTR said that moves including the establishment of an interagency National Committee on Intellectual Property Policy and a subcommittee on enforcement against intellectual property infringement had been key in fighting IP violations. Thailand also addressed backlogs for patent and trademark applications, significantly increased the number of examiners and streamlined regulations. Thailand also joined the Madrid Protocol, which makes it easier for US companies to apply for trademarks, and took steps to address concerns regarding online piracy affecting the US content industry.