Thai Airways International (THAI) has increased its Bangkok-Rome and Bangkok-Madrid flights to facilitate stranded passengers wanting to fly in and out of Europe following the ash from an Icelandic volcano which has been disrupting air operations in the North Atlantic and the continent.
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Doing business in Thailand
Regulations and bureaucratic procedures that firms have reported as severely affecting their businesses and investment decisions were mainly on delays in tax refunds, uncertainties around the time taken to clear customs or obtain permits and certifications, and uncertainties around regulatory policies. The delays in tax refunds referred to both value-added tax refunds and import tax refunds for exporters. The Revenue Department and Customs Department have been introducing programs and employed internet-based services to reduce the time taken to do so. However, few firms have participated in these programs or have benefited from the services. On the other hand, the average number of days needed to clear import customs or obtain permits is not exceptionally high in Thailand compared to other countries.
The government also uses tariff measures as a tool to promote energy policy. To encourage the use of natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles, the government has exempted import duties of many natural gas-related tools and equipment such as bio-fuel conversion kits, natural gas containers, and chasses.
Externally, the trade balance in January 2009 recorded a 1,688 million US dollar surplus. Export value contracted for the third consecutive month while import fell even more rapidly. Export value dropped 25.3 percent (yoy) to 10,382 million US dollars. This was due mainly to contraction across the board except for labour-intensive industries which still expanded from gold export.
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