Tag Archives: business

Thai and Burmese officials signed together a total of 16 bilateral business memoranda of understanding (MoUs) last February 2 in Burma. The event was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Somkid Jatusripitak.

The MoUs covered six business sectors including the finance sector, the agricultural sector, and the infrastructure development sector. According to the vice president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), U Ye Min Aung, the collaboration between the two countries is expected to foster better relations between their respective local businesses namely Burma government ministries, Thai companies, and the UMFCCI itself.

U Ye Min Aung commented about the event saying, “These are big agreements that the NLD government is signing with Thailand. Thailand is among the top foreign investors here, and these agreements will foster more economic cooperation.

“These agreements are made from government to government, and from government to business too. Every industry has signed an MOU here today.”

Investment in Burma is an act shared by many other countries, only three of which, surpasses the amount that Thailand has allocated to Burma. These countries are Singapore who has a $2.6 billion investment, China who put in $447 million, and Hong Kong who allotted $187 million in the country. Thailand had $106 million invested during the 2016-17 fiscal year according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.

One of the businesses has signed an agreement with Thailand is the Kanbawza (KBZ) Bank, one of the five major banks in Burma. The deal between the two entities involve the use of the Thai government’s remittance services.

Meanwhile, the Burmese bank has already branched out to Thailand, opening an office and introducing a remittance service that can be utilized by workers from Thailand and Burma.

U Nyo Mint, a senior official in the KBZ Group expressed their intentions on the agreement with Thailand saying, “Many Burmese workers are working in Thailand. So that’s why remittance services should be more active. We have been working with Thai banks already, and today we signed an agreement in front of the Thai government that will strengthen that level of cooperation.

“Thai investors are near the top among foreign direct investment in Burma. And our economic cooperation will grow bigger in the future.”

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Thailand has been ranked third among other Asean countries in terms of ease of doing business. The official ranking was researched and done by the World Bank’s flagship publication, the “Doing Business 2017.”

The publication conducted a survey which included 190 countries across the globe. In the ranking of all countries, Thailand comes in at number 46 for the best destination to do business in. The top ten includes notable countries from East Asia and the Pacific Region namely New Zealand who bagged the first place while Singapore got second. 4th place goes to Hong Kong SAR, China while the Republic of Korea got fifth place.

In the Asean Group where Thailand is ranked third, Singapore comes in first place.

“Doing Business 2017” has noted that Thailand has vastly improved in the field of business startups. In nearly all categories, the Southeast Asian country increased in ranking. For the Starting a Business category, it jumped to 78th from 96th. In the category of Getting Credit, Thailand increased 15 spots from 97th to 82nd. Meanwhile, Thailand hiked from 36th to 27th place in terms of Protecting Minority Investors. In the Resolving Insolvency category, the country boost to 23rd place from 49th last year.

Other categories where Thailand didn’t excel as much included Enforcing Contracts, Dealing with Construction Permits, Trading across Borders, Paying Taxes, Getting Electricity, Enforcing Contracts, and Registering Property. This improvement areas can be attributed to the remaining challenges that Thailand needs to face. In the country, a 12-hour compliance with border regulations for exports takes as much as 57 hours. Tax audit-compliance are also steep in Thailand. Despite this remaining challenges, Thailand made significant progress.

“Thailand is steadily making progress to ease the process of doing business. Continuing focus on reforms to promote a better business environment, in addition to implementing public infrastructure investments, developing skilled-workers through quality education, and promoting innovations, can further improve the country’s competitiveness, which will lead to more and better jobs for many Thai people.” according to Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Thailand.

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Chevron, one of the biggest oil companies in the world and the most significant energy producer in Thailand, has stated that it will stay in the country opposing rumors of its withdrawal.

Chevron supplies a little over one-third of the country’s natural gas demand. The Gulf of Thailand is home to its first natural gas field, the Erawan Field. This is where the company operates explorations and production blocks.

Earlier in the month, rumors have spread that the US energy giant will be leaving Thailand after it cut jobs in the region. An estimate of 800 staff and contractors lost their jobs after the company experienced severe oil price decline. The move gained the company $500 million which was used to stay afloat in the market.

In a statement made by Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production President, Stephen Green said, “The core assets that we operate in the Gulf of Thailand are a core part of Chevron’s portfolio and we have intention of it remaining a core part of our portfolio. We are not leaving Thailand.”

For the year 2016, Chevron, along with its partners, have drafted a 100 billion baht ($2.9 billion) plan to improve operations in the Gulf of Thailand. They have also set a number of 300-400 wells to be drilled yearly.

The Government of Thailand which is headed by the military junta plans on auctioning oil and gas contracts which will expire in 2022 and 2023. The decision came after activists rioted against an extension proposal for the concession with existing operators. This includes Chevron whose main concession at the Erawan gas field will expire in 2022. Auctions are planned to start next year.

According to a spokeswoman of the company Chevron is willing to work with the government and has not yet given a definitive decision to join in the coming auctions.

Despite the impending auctions, Chevron said that it will stay in Thailand. License holders, including Chevron, are allowed to participate in the auction if no other bidders show. If they win the bid, the extension of concession may then be discussed.