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Avoiding the recession label : The Bank of Thailand said yesterday expansion of gross domestic product in the second quarter indicates that the economy is recovering from the political turmoil, while the avoidance of a technical recession lifted anchor investors' sentiment.

Spokesman Chirathep Senivongs Na Ayudhya said the 0.4-per-cent growth from the second quarter of last year has confirmed that the economy has definitely improved from the previous quarter due to the reduced political uncertainty and the increase in public policy clarity, which stimulated private and public spending.

Because GDP edged up 0.9 per cent in the second quarter from the first quarter, which contracted by 1.9 per cent year on year, the economy escaped a technical recession, which many sides had been concerned about. A technical recession is when GDP shrinks over two quarters in a row.

Plea for early TV vouchers

A focus group of terrestrial digital TV operators, distributors of digital TV set-top boxes and consumer rights organisations has urged for the vouchers to purchase digital TV set-top boxes to start being sent out to households on October 15 and for households to be allowed to start using them on November 1.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission held the meeting yesterday. Earlier the NBTC said it intended to distribute the vouchers next month.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, said that if the preparation for the voucher distribution is completed on August 31 and the recruitment of set-top box makers to join the voucher project finishes on September 15, the watchdog will start the voucher distribution on October 15.

Push for closer ties with China

The conference titled "China: Connectivity with the Asean Economic Community" on Friday at Dusit Thani Hotel is designed to prod structural changes on AEC economies with the next wave of investment from Chinese companies. About 400 regional and international business leaders will attend this breakthrough event, which will run from 9am-3.30pm.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow, permanent secretary of the Thai Foreign Ministry, will deliver the inaugural address on the next era in Thai-Chinese relations.

Keynote speakers include Wu Zhiwu, minister counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, who will talk about strategic economic interests of the AEC to China, and Michael Yeoh, CEO of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute in Malaysia, who will talk about China in a new era of relations with Asean.

Soithip Trisuddhi, permanent secretary of the Thai Transport Ministry, will talk about Asean connectivity through rail, road and highway and flows of goods and services between China and the AEC.

Other topics are preparing for a wave of Chinese investment in the AEC and business competitiveness for the AEC through digital technology.

This regional conference is hosted by Bangkok Bank, which has an extensive network in Asean and China. The event is also held on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of The Nation, a member of Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 media in Asia including the China Daily. There will be simultaneous Thai-Chinese-English interpretation.


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