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Tariff cuts to boost agricultural imports

Farm goods from Indochinese countries, including Vietnam, will have more access to the Thai market after the government decided to cut import tariffs and allow tax exemptions.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, the Thai government has agreed to cut import duties levied on certain agricultural products. The decision falls in line with the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy signed by Thailand and its neighbouring countries: Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Vietnam.

The farm products enjoying tax exemptions will include maize, soya beans, eucalyptus and palm oil. About 108,000 tonnes of products in these categories are expected to be imported this year, growing to 428,000 tonnes in 2008. - The Nation

Zelan plans major office building in Bangkok

Zelan plans to develop a Grade-A office building in Bangkok valued at 500 million ringgit (Bt5 billion).

Group chief executive officer Chang Si Fock said this would boost revenue contribution from the Malaysian firm's property and development business unit.

"We plan to increase the division's revenue contribution to 20 per cent from the current 15 per cent," he said after the company annual general meeting last Friday.

The company's latest annual report also noted that talks with a reputable property developer in Hyderabad, India, to jointly develop luxury villas and condominiums were at an advanced stage.

"Negotiations are ongoing for several joint-venture projects in India," Chang said.

The company's strategy for its property segment is to build and sell, he added.

"We will not rent out for recurring income, not at the moment."

Zelan has four main divisions: engineering and construction, independent power producers (IPPs) and investment, manufacturing and trading, and property development.

While the company wants to boost its property division, Chang said IPP investment was still expected to remain its main focus in the next two to three years.

"We are in talks with IPPs in India, Indonesia and the Middle East," he said, adding that an IPP deal was expected to be finalised in the current fiscal year ending on January 31. - The Star, Asia News Network

Tesco Lotus signs Bt74m   deal for southern fruits

Tesco Lotus yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Ministry for the purchase of 3,700 tonnes of fruits worth Bt74 million from southern provinces.

Farmers in Surat Thani, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Chumphon will supply fruits, including rambutan and mangosteen, directly to the retail giant.

In May, Tesco Lotus signed an agreement with farmers in the East for 4,200 tonnes of fruits worth Bt80 million. - The Nation


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