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China announces policies to lure foreign investors

Jack Burton

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China announces policies to lure foreign investors | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Shanghai skyline – QANTAS

Are the Chinese removing layers of ‘red’ tape? China is offering 20 new measures friendly to foreign investors, removing business restrictions to encourage a more “fair, transparent and predictable” business environment.

China’s State Council released a guideline pledging to shorten negative lists and eliminate restrictions, opening up more sectors to foreign investors.

The Nation reports that all restrictions on the business scope of foreign banks, securities firms and fund management companies will be lifted, and equal market access will be given to new energy vehicles produced by foreign automakers, according to the document.

The new rules will lower the cost of cross-border spending and make it easier for foreigners to work in China. Foreign businesses will be encouraged to make equity investment in China.

China will also strengthen protection of foreign investors’ interests, fully implementing the Foreign Investment Law, the document said.

Authorities will establish and improve methods of accepting complaints from foreign businesses, improve intellectual property rights protection and strictly ban the forced transfer of technology.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Bangkok

Chatuchak market is in worst crisis in 5 decades due to Covid-19, vendors say

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Chatuchak market is in worst crisis in 5 decades due to Covid-19, vendors say | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bucketlistly

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok’s biggest market and a popular tourist destination, is hit hard by the new wave of Covid-19. With the lack of foreign tourists due to travel restrictions over the past year, as well as more locals staying at home despite the market’s strict disease control measures, the number of visitors at the market has dropped by 90%.

Vendors at the market say this is the worst situation in 50 years. Most of them report no sales at all. With little to no income, many shops at the market have shut down. Although the BMA is trying to relieve the situation by lowering the rental fees by half, that seems not enough to help the business. Some of the vendors have tried online trading, but sales are still low.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Bangkok

Eating out until 11pm in Bangkok is waiting for approval

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Eating out until 11pm in Bangkok is waiting for approval | The Thaiger
PHOTO: GQ Thailand

Bangkok restaurants may soon be allowed to stay open a little later. Health officials are considering easing up Covid-19 prevention measures by extending restaurant dine-in closing times to 11pm. If the proposal by the Thai Restaurant Association is given a green light, it may lead to the lifting ban of alcohol drinking.

After the order of shutting entertainment venues and banning alcohol sales in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Chonburi, the revenues in the alcohol beverage business plummeted. Under disease control measures, restaurants in Bangkok are ordered to stop dine-in services at 9pm and all alcohol sales are banned at restaurants to limit gatherings.

According to the president of the Thai Alcohol Business Association, the current ban on alcohol is estimated to cost about 90 billion baht in revenue. The lifting of the ban is then believed to stimulate the economy.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce says the Cabinet might review the proposal on closing hours tomorrow and act immediately to provide relief to restaurant operators as well as those in the alcohol beverage business.

SOURCE: Coconuts Bangkok

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Air Pollution

Stop the burn – Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste

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Stop the burn – Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste | The Thaiger

Provincial governors in Thailand’s farming areas are being told to mitigate the burning off of agri-business waste by farmers in their provinces. The annual burn-offs are the biggest cause of the December to April air pollution in Bangkok and Central Thailand which lie in the wake of the light north-easterly breezes this time of the year. The burn-offs partly co-incide with the lighter annual north-easterly monsoons.

Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, a spokesman for Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, has been one of the first to openly admit that the agri-fires are the common denominator in the capital’s annual smog woes. Over recent decades Bangkok’s Pollution Control department has trotted out any number of PR stunts, including water-spraying drones and asking temples to stop lighting josh sticks.

Now that spokesperson says that the accumulation of PM2.5 micron dust in the atmosphere… “mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, has been posing a health risk for the past several days”.

Deputy PM Prawit has now ordered all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution. It’s not the first order from the top directed at farmers trying to find cheap ways to get rid of agri-waste and prepare their plantations for the next crop. But, despite the ‘warnings’ in the past the practice has continued largely unenforced.

Thai farmers conduct the burn-off activities to reduce the amount of leftover materials – biowaste – like stalk tops, leaves and refuse left after the harvesting. Rice farmers also routinely burn rice stubble – the residual plant waste to prepare fields for the next season of crops.

Around 70-75% of Thailand’s sugar production is sent overseas and the country ranks second in exports just behind Brazil. It’s a big industry. The government also introduced a quota, distribution and price support system between growers and millers which has helped to artificially keep a ceiling on the export prices. Most of Thailand’s sugarcane plantations are in the Central and Northeast regions, some of them, evidenced by the fire maps, are less than 100 kilometres north of the capital.

But the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravut Silpaarcha is resorting to the old government narrative, repeating that officials at the Pollution Control Department will have to coordinate with the Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to “intensify efforts to reduce emissions of PM2.5 dust from vehicles and factories”.

He’s also suggested that companies should allow employees to work from home to reduce the amount of vehicles on the city’s roads.

The Pollution Control Department is now estimating that the biomass burn-off contribution to the PM2.5 levels could vary between 24 – 38%, with the majority of it coming from sugarcane and rice burning. Most of the concentrations of agri-burning is around Northern Thailand and in the farmlands north of Bangkok. These areas also suffer considerably from the direct effects of the smoke. Fire maps also indicate that an even worse problem exists in northern Cambodia and north-west Myanmar where the burning carries on un-abated.

Stop the burn - Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHICS: firms2.modaps

The Thaiger has waged a long campaign to provide fire maps and air-pollution readings over the past 3 years as evidence of the contribution of the agri-burning to Bangkok’s annual smog problem. But officials have kept beating the same drum, blaming factories, vehicle traffic and old diesel buses (which certainly need to be regulated as well but are not the main cause of the December to April haze and smog).

 

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