A view from Thailand (Business Mirror (Philippines))

Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) has introduced a new list of industrial promotions aimed at shifting the profile of the country’s industrial sector to advanced industries:

From To

normal food medical food and active ingredients

rubber band rubber automotive tires

normal construction iron high-strength iron, pig iron, sponge iron

normal construction materials advanced and nano materials

natural and normal synthetic fiber technical or functional fiber

combustion engine care hybrid and electric cars

normal spare part high-tech spare parts, security spare parts,

energy-conservation spare parts

normal polymer eco-friendly polymer

normal plastic bio-plastic

normal pulp and paper hygienic pulp and paper

New BOI promotional lines are

Parts for aircraft (four Japanese companies have just signed investment extensions in this sector in the amount of $170 million)

Aircraft-repair services

Fuel cells

Medical equipment

Science apparatus

Solar cell and its raw materials

Specific training centers

The highest BOI promotional privileges will be granted to the following industries: agriculture, fisheries and related industries; ceramics; textiles, garments and leather; furniture; jewellery and ornaments; medical appliances; automobiles, machinery and parts; electrical appliances and electronics; plastics; pharmaceuticals; logistics; industrial estates; and tourism-related industries.

International Civil Aviation Organization (Icao) raised serious concerns on safety measures in Thai aviation; the Icao exposed structural weakness in Thailand’s Civil Aviation Department; the regulator employs just 12 officials to monitor the 600,000 flights that take off every year from Thai soil; there are also fears that this meager work force has not kept pace with advances in aviation technology. Japan and South Korea have already banned new flights by Thai carriers.

This is hitting the tourism industry of Thailand badly. Meanwhile, the Thai safety concerns have also reached Europe, vetting safety standards of airplanes that fly to European airports. Here is the unofficial result of the regional audit for safety standards by the Icao released in February this year:

Singapore 9 percent

Malaysia 2 percent

Laos 3 percent

Myanmar 9 percent

Brunei 8 percent

Philippines 9 percent

Vietnam 8 percent

Indonesia 1 percent

Cambodia 2 percent

Thailand 6 percent

Thousands of workers at a major footwear factory in southern Vietnam went on strike recently in protest over social insurance cover, in a rare show of labor unrest in a country positioning itself as a future Asian manufacturing powerhouse. The strike comes as Vietnam tries to lure big firms with its cheap labor, tax breaks and its looming accession to free-trade agreements with its biggest export partners-the free-trade agreement with the European Union and a transpacific partnership agreement.