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Commerce ministry to promote four key products

The Commerce Ministry has drawn up a plan to promote four priority products - Otop (One Tambon, One Product) merchandise, organic products, halal food and geographical-indication products - to increase local people's incomes and ensure sustainable development.

Permanent secretary Srirat Rastapana said the ministry aimed to help 3,000 farmers and domestic traders to produce those four priority goods and encourage them to trade overseas.

Diesel excise tax waiver extended

The Cabinet has agreed to extend the waiver of the excise tax on diesel for one month from May 1-31.

Deputy government spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said yesterday that the tax waiver would proceed after endorsement by the Election Commission.

The Finance Ministry had suggested allowing the waiver to expire on April 30, but the price of diesel is still high, and raising its price would burden people with a higher cost of living.

Refund shortfall feared

The Excise Department is seeking a supplementary budget of Bt8 billion to Bt10 billion from the Comptroller-General's Department to fund tax refunds under the first-car-buyer scheme, as the remaining Bt9 billion may not last for the rest of the fiscal year ending in September.

Approval from the Election Commission is required as the government is in a caretaker role.

For fiscal 2014, the Excise Department had requested Bt50 billion but was apportioned only Bt40 billion, resulting in the expected shortfall, director-general Somchai Poonsawat said yesterday.

Allianz takes Italian stake

Allianz has agreed to acquire a part of the property and casualty insurance business of Italian insurer UnipolSai, which brought in premiums of 1.1 billion euros (Bt49 billion) last year. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.

The business includes 729 agencies and 500 employees servicing 1.5 million customers in Italy last year. The acquisition will be for a total consideration of up to 440 million euros.

"This is an excellent fit because it enables us to grow our market share in a very mature but highly profitable market," said Oliver Bate, member of the board of management of Allianz in charge of the western and southern Europe region.

"I wish to welcome our new customers, employees and agents to the Allianz Group."

SCG Cement in Italy JV

Siam Cement said yesterday that SCG Cement's building-materials business unit had formed a joint venture with Florim Ceramiche to invest in the production facilities of high-end ceramics in Bologna, northern Italy.

With annual capacity of 5 million square metres, production is expected to commence early next year. Siam Cement's 33-per-cent equity stake in the JV is valued at Bt506 million.

SCG Cement's building-materials unit has the largest global ceramics production capacity of 225 million square metres, with consolidated production facilities in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.


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