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October 2019 : US GSP Cancellation Irrelevant to Toxics Ban

  • US GSP cancellation irrelevant to toxics ban
  • Farmers from 6 provinces seek Court injunction on 3 toxics ban
  • PM assured Cybersecurity law is for national security
  • Cabinet nodded for Chim-Shop-Chai Phase 2
  • Parliament passed a law on military units transfer
  • CC will rule on MP Nawats status
  • Court ordered 3 Red Shirt leaders to compensate over commercial building torched
  • Government promotes tourism to boost economic growth
  • Big Dang: Article 1 of the Constitution no amend
  • Regulations on equality between genders
  • CC posted former ruling on the cabinet members voting on fiscal bills
  • Banks regulations revised to international standards
  • Cabinet approved measures to solve air pollution problems

    US cancellation of GSP irrelevant to toxics ban

    On 29 October, Deputy PM Somkid Chatusripitak reaffirmed after a meeting with US Charge d Affairs at the US Embassy in Bangkok Mr. Michael Heath on the US cancellation of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits, which used to allow 573 items exported from Thailand to the US to be exempted of import duties that the decision is not finalized and the negotiations are going on.

    This followed a rumor that the cancellation of GSP is related to the government policy to ban of 3 toxic chemicals announced.

    On 27 October, the Government Speaker said PM Prayut Chan-ocha acknowledged the matter since last month during the US Deputy Commerce Ministers visit on his attendance to the ASEAN economic ministers meeting in Thailand. The speaker reaffirmed the cancellation was caused from Thailands decision on an establishment of migrant workers unions, requested by the US government over migrant worker condition.

    Farmers to seek court injunction on three toxics ban

    On 28 October, 1019 farmers from 6 provinces; Chantaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Songkram, Rayong, Supanburi and Nakorn Ratchasrima, submitted a complaint to the Administrative Court asking the court to annul the resolution approved by the unanimous vote of Hazardous Substance Committee on the banning of three agricultural chemicals- paraquat, chlorpyrifos and glyphosate- to be effective on 1 December 2019. The farmers representative said there are currently no concrete measures to provide alternative pesticides or weed killing machines which means farmers have to take care of the weed/pest problems by hiring additional laborers leading to the increase of production cost. The six provinces grow economic crops including sugarcane, tapioca, oil palm, rubber, corn and fruits.

    PM assured Cybersecurity law is for security

    On 28 October PM Prayut Chan-ocha remarked at the opening ceremony of Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019 symposium on Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019: ASEAN Connectivity at Bitec Bangna that the government is trying to develop Thailands defenses against cybersecurity threats, including through legislation, by the enactment of the Cybersecurity Act and the Personal Data Protection Act.

    He said cyber-attackers are a new form of threat and terrorists are exploiting digital technology to support their activities. The government wants to see seamless connectivity in digital transformation between the state and private and public sectors. The Thailand 4.0 policy focuses on the adoption of advances and digital technologies such as big data to develop human capital, society and key business segments, he said.

    Digital transformation is expected to drive Aseans average annual income per person to US$100,000 (3.02 million bath) by 2025, and Thailand stands to benefit from it. The government is urging the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) to find ways to attract global tech firms to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G technologies in the Eastern Economic corridor (EEC) to create a hub of Asean connectivity for the new economy. The government is developing the Digital Park Project, located on a 700- rai plot, in Chonburi to cater to tech developers. The project also includes the Thailand Digital valley scheme, which is being developed from the former IoT Institute.

    Cabinet approved Chim-Shop-Chai Phase 2

    On 22 October, the cabinet resolved to approve the Chim-Shop-Chai (Eat-Shop-Spend) Phase 2 scheme to allow more 3 million people to register to the scheme starting from 24 October. Moreover, the scheme will be extended from 30 November to 31 December 2019.

    The Chim-Shop-Chai scheme aims to boost economic consumption through four measures. On Phase 1 a total of 10 million online registrants, based on a first-come-first-served basis, at a maximum of 1 million per day, has downloaded the e-payment app to receive the 1,000 baht e-money for spending at more than 150,000 participating restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, shops and convenience stores. They will receive a 15% rebate upon a spending up to 30,000 baht. The cash back shall increase to 20% will be increased to a spending between 30,000 -50,000 baht.

    A 3,000 million baht has been allocated to finance the scheme, 2,000 million baht from the central budget and 1,000 million from the Thailand Tourism Authority. During 27 September 14 October long weekend the spending was 1,842 million baht and a total spending since started was 8,071.0 million baht.

    Military units transfer bill passed

    On 17 October, the Parliament passed the Military Units Transfer Bill with 374 to 70 and 2 abstains making some troops will be transferred to directly be under the royal guard units. The bill will be forwarded to the Senate for enactment.

    CC to rule on MP Nawats status

    On 16 October, the Constitutional Court accepted the Election Commission (EC) petition on the status of Phue Thais Khon Khaen constituency 7 MP Nawat Tohcharoeosuk who was sentenced to a capital punishment by the Criminal Court. The EC cited Article 101 (6) and 98 (6) of the Constitution that his MPs status was invalid since the Courts ruling and his bail was rejected by the Court.

    Mr. Nawat was charged of hiring five people, including Police Lieutenand Colonel Somchit Kaewprom, to kill former Khon Khaen Provincial Administrative chief Mr. Suchart Kodetum on 3 May 2013. Police Lieutenand Colonel Somchit Kaewprom who was also sentenced to a capital punishment and the other four, life imprisonment. Since his bail was rejected by the Appeal Court, Mr. Nawat is being jailed.

    Court ordered Red Shirt leaders to pay compensation on building torched

    On 16 October, the Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Courts verdict and sentencing 3 Red Shirt leaders; Mr. Jatuporn Promphan, Mr. Nattawut Sai-Kae, and Mr. Waeng Tojirakan to pay 21,356,650 baht compensation to the owner of the commercial building torched during the unrest to uproot Abhisit Vejjajiva administration on 19 May 2010. In addition to the compensation, the three defendants must pay another 1,200,000 baht over the plaintiff Mr. Prasong Kangwanwattanas loss of benefit and a monthly 100,000 baht, starting from 18 May 2011, when the petition was launched, until the compensation is totally paid, but not exceed than 24 months. A 7.5% interest will be charged until the compensation is paid, too.

    The first court acquitted the case but the Appeal Court overruled and ordered the three defendants to pay a 30,509,500 baht and 7.5% interest rate.

    Government promotes tourism to boost economic growth

    On 12 May, the cabinet approved 18 measures to promote tourism to alleviate economic growth. Measures are categorized into short, medium and long terms in monetary, finance, marketing and legal incentives.

    The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale Passport Privileges will give 30-70% discount to tourists over their shopping. Hotels and mega conference businesses will get loans at special interest rates.

    Thailand Touring scheme will be opened for online registration on 11-12 November and 11-12 December. The first 10,000 registered daily will get benefits from spending on accommodations and shopping.

    Big Dang: Article 1 of the Constitution no amend

    On 11 October, at the Army Auditorium, Military Chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong, aka Big Dang, on an occasion of his special lecture, on Thailand security, attended by 500 participants, expressed his view on the constitutional amendment that Article 1 is unalterable.

    He viewed the rapidly and continuously changing situations that it is the army responsibility to instill security while adapting to the changes. He expressed concern over loyalty that the army is dutiful to uphold the three institutions; nation, religions and monarchy.

    Regulations on genders equality

    On 9 October, the regulations on genders equality is published in the Royal Gazette. Full details can be read in the webpage: ºСҧ

    CC posted ruling on the cabinet voting over fiscal bill

    On 10 October, the Constitutional Court posted their ruling over controversy on whether the cabinet can vote over a fiscal budget bill that this issue was decided in regards to the 14/2551 ruling and the verdict published in the Royal Gazette volume 125, clause 127 on 4 December 2008.

    Online readers can access http://www.constitutionalcourt.or.th/occ_web/download/article/file_import/center14_51.pdf for full information.

    The Court asked interested people to check the truth before making any comment on this issue.

    Banks regulations revised to meet anti-money laundering standards

    On 1 October, the cabinet approved amendment on bank regulations to bar money-laundering and terrorism, proposed by the Anti-Momey Laundering Office.

    The new regulations are compliance with international standards and support the Anti-Momey Laundering Act.

    Key issues are to prohibit financial institutes from doing business with risking clients and banks are liable to report any international electronic transaction, exceed than 50,000 baht, over their suspecting they are involving in money laundering.

    Measures to counter air pollution

    On 1 October, the cabinet approved the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environments proposals on three measures to solve air pollution problem. They are:

    Measure 1: Increase efficiency in administrative functions to solve rapid and critical problems.

    Measure 2: Prevent and reduce sources of pollution with short and long terms solutions.

    Measure 3: Increase efficiency in management to rid air pollution with short and long terms.

    Those measures have been used for a while before the PM 2.5 becoming critical problem. Core responsible agents are the Interior Ministry, BMA, Higher Education Ministry, Agricultural and Cooperations Ministry, Transport and Communication Ministry, Digital for Economic and Social Ministry, Public health Ministry, Industrial Industry, National Police Office and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

    The Interior Ministry ordered all provincial governors to be alert and prepared for solving problems particularly in November when farmers burn the agricultural waste in the fields. Alternative practices are reuse for composting. Any big fire occurs should be reported instantly and people should be informed on the damages of agricultural waste burning.

    The Public health Ministry is assigned to provide health masks in area where air pollution is high.

    The Army has assigned medical mobile units to check health, giving masks and provide water trucks. The Royal Volunteer Unit 904 is also available for the cleaning and spraying water to lessen dust in the area until the air pollution problems solved.

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